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Edited by G, Tucci and E. Yar-Shater 


Translated by 

la redazione della serie e curata 
i>al prop. Antonio Gargano 


Is. M. E. O. 





Persian Heritage Series 


G. Tucci & E. Yar-Shater 


A. J. Arberry (Cambridge University) 
H. MASsi (University of Paris) 

G. Morgenstierne (University of Oslo) 

B. Spuler (University of Hamburg) 
T. C. Young (Princeton University) 


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Foreword * . * * xui 

Introduction 1-24 

Tansar's Letter 26-70 

Anonymous preamble ' ■ 26-30 

The Letter itself, with 6th-century extensions * . . . 30-70 

Index 71-78 

Idiomatic Persian words and phrases used by Ibn Isfandiyar 79 


The present translation of the Letter of Tansar, as is explained in 
more detail in the introduction, has its origin in a seminar held jointly, 
a number of years ago, at the School of Oriental & African Studies, 
London, by Professor W. B. Henning and Professor Mojtaba Minovi. 
I am indebted to my friend Professor Ehsan Jar-Shnter for persuading 
me finally to prepare the rough draft for publication; but the death of 
Professor Henning while the work was in the press has cast a shadow over 
the undertaking. 

I owe gratitude to Professor Giuseppe Tucci for accepting the trans- 
lation for inclusion in the Rome Oriental Series; and to Professor Anto- 
nio Garganofor his kindness and helpfulness in seeing it through the press. 


The Letter ofTansar is a fugitive piece of Middle Persian literature, 
the greater part of which, "being Zoroastrian, vanished like snow in 
the heat of the Islamic summer. By " Middle Persian " is meant the 
language of Persia from about the third century B. C. to the ninth 
century A. C; but since little is known of Persia proper (that is, the 
modern province of Fars) under Parthian rule, the term is generally 
used more specifically for the language of Persia during the days of 
the great Sasanian Empire (c, 224 - 637 A.C.) and the centuries imme- 
diately following its downfall, until modern Persian, with its rich borrow- 
ings from the speech of the Arab conquerors, gradually emerged. This 
Middle Persian language was written in a script derived from the Ara- 
maic script used in the chancelleries of the Achaemenian Empire. With 
the coming of Islam this script was largely abandoned for the Arabic 
alphabet; and in its disuse it came to be called the "ancient" or 
" heroic " script, the Persian word being " Pahlavi ". The same term 
was applied also to the language and literature of Sasanian Persia, so 
that in ordinary usage "Pahlavi " and " Middle Persian " are synony- 

The literature of Sasanian Persia was large and varied, its glory 
being, it seems, minstrel-poetry, which was never written down within 
the period. This poetry was neglected after the conquest, when new 
fashions in verse came into being under the influence of Arabic lite- 
rature; and being forgotten, it disappeared. Its influence survives in 
the Sahndme, true heir to the old epic tradition; and the long romantic 
poem, Vis u Jtamin, is a re-writing by a Muslim author of an old min- 
strel work. We know Sasanian poetry chiefly, however, not through 
itself, but through stories of its beauty and its power to stir men's minds 
and hearts i. 

1 See further " The Parthian gosan and Iranian Minstrel Tradition " TRAS 1957, 
pp. 10-45. 

— 2 — 

There was also an unwritten prose literature of entertainment, 
in the shape of short stories, some of which, collected and written down 
towards the end of the Sasanian period, evolved into books such as 
the "Thousand and One Nights". The influence of written fables 
of Indian origin seems to have helped this development from the sixth 
century onwards. Broadly speaking, however, works of entertainment 
were not committed to writing in Sasanian Persia. Writing, though 
known for centuries, was reserved for practical purposes (such as letters, 
state and legal documents, and chronicles), 01 for the dignity of. reli- 
gious or scholarly works. The learning of Sasanian Persia developed, 
however, under the aegis of the Zoroastrian church, as did that of me- 
dieval Persia under the aegis of Islam. After the Arab conquest the 
scientific and didactic books of the Sasanian period became therefore, 
in the eyes of the majority, heretical, and being discarded or superseded, 
they disappeared almost as completely as the unwritten works. 

Little remains, therefore, of the former wealth of Middle Persian 
literature. What survives falls into two. categories: a small but va- 
luable collection of religious books, and books connected with religion, 
preserved in the Pahlavi language and script by the little band of stead- 
fast Zoroastrians; and a collection of more general works translated 
either into Arabic or into modem Persian by Persian Muslims. Among 
these translators the best known is 'Abdu'Uah ibnu-1 Muqaffa', a Per- 
sian of Fars, and a convert (though of somewhat doubtful orthodoxy) 
from Zoroastrianism to Islam, who died about 760 A.C. Ibnu-1 Mu- 
qaffa' is famed, not only for the number and importance of his transla- 
tions, but also for their elegance. One of the works which he translated 
is the Letter of Tansar i. Unfortunately his Tendering has not survived; - 
but in the thirteenth century of our era a certain Muhammad b. al- 
Ilasan b. Isfandiyar, generally known as Ibn Isfandiyar, a native of 
Tabaristan, undertook to write a history of his home province. While 
engaged on this task he visited Xwarezm, then a flourishing city; and 
there in a bookseller's shop he came on a volume containing ten se- 
parate treatises, among them the Arabic version of the Letter by Ibnu-1 
Muqaffa\ This he re-translated into the Persian of his own time, 

i See F. Gabrieli "L*opera di Ibn al-Muqaffa' " Rivisia degli Studi Orientals , XUl 
(1931-1932), pp. 197-247, with particular reference to the translation of the Letter of Tan- 
sar, pp, 217-18. 

— 3 — 

and embodied in his History of Tabaristan 1; and it is only thus, and 
in short passages cited in Arabic by historians such as Mas'udi and 
Al-BIrum 2 S that the Letter exists today. 

Some of these Arabic citations evidently derive, not from the ver- 
sion of Ibnu-1 Muqaffa*, but directly or indirectly from the Pahlavi 
text; for in some of them the name of the author of the Letter is given, 
not as Tansar, but as Tosar. The ambiguity lies in the Pahlavi script 3 . 
Ibnu-1 Muqaffa' read the name as Tansar, and those who have the 
form Tosar should not, accordingly, have depended on his text 4 . 

Ibnu-1 Muqaffa' evidently made some additions to the Pahlavi 
original, inserting, "no doubt to make the ancient text more respec- 
table to his Muslim readers " 5 quotations from the Qur'an and Bible. 
He was probably also responsible for various illustrative verses, some 
of them in elegant Persian 6 . Other verses of poorer quality seem more 
likely to have been added by Ibn Isfandiyar, a man of much lesser lite- 
rary stature and taste. Gratitude to him for preserving the Letter 
in its entirety cannot but be tempered by recognition of his shortcom- 
ings as a translator. He is unfortunately both pedestrian and loqua- 
cious, reluctant to utter in one phrase what can be reiterated in two 
or three, or four, or more. He therefore dilutes and enfeebles. A col- 
lation of the fugitive passages surviving in Arabic with his parallel 
versions shows that this verbosity is his own, and not in the original 1 . 

1 See E. G- Browne's Abridged Translation of the History of Tabaristan (Gibb Me- 
morial Series, Vol. II, 1905) p. 6; 'Abbas Iqba!, Tarix-i Tabaristan (Tehran, 1942) pp. 12-41. 

2 References to these passages are given by A. Chris tensen in his article " Abarsam 
et Tansar " Acta Orientalia, X (1932), p. 46 f. 

3 See further below, p. 7. 

* See A. Christensen, L'Empire des Sassanides (Copenhagen, 1907), p. 53 n. 1. The 
matter is not, however, quite clear cut; for a passage beginning " This is the meaning of 
the expression « proxy » in their religion ", which one would naturally attribute to Ibnu'l 
Muqaffa', is found both in Ibn Isfandiyar's version and in al-Birunfs India, although al- 
Blruni gives as his authority the Book of Tosar; see below, transt. p. 46 with n. 3. 

5 J. Darmesteter, Journal asiatique, 1894, p. 189. 

6 See, e.g., below, p. 68 with n. 2. In the present translation, Arabic citations are 
given in italics, Persian ones are set in inverted commas. 

7 Such a collation, between a citation by Mas'udi and the corresponding rendering 
by Ibn Isfandiyar, was made by Muhammad "All JamaLzade :n Kave, 5th. year, no. 11* 
p. 7, see Christensen, Acta Orientalia, X, p. 46 n. 9. In his own article Chris tensen points 
out that the Letter of Tansar was familiar also to the unknown author of the twelfth-century 
Fars Name; and he sets together parallel passages from that work and Ibn Isfandiyar's 
(loc. cit., pp. 50-54). These also demonstrate Ibn Isfandiyar's long-windedness. Christen- 

— 4 — 

Nevertheless, even through his flow of words, and his occasional mis- 
understandings of the Arabic text, there emerge the authentic accents 
of a Sasanian treatise, whose phrases and thoughts can be paralleled 
from extant Pahlavi works. 

In these Pahlavi works the influence of the oral tradition of lite- . 
rature is plain. One of the characteristics of this is that it is largely 
anonymous. Another is that, though the tradition as a whole is im- 
mensely conservative (the hymns of Zoroaster himself were preserved 
unwritten and virtually intact for hundreds of years), yet in all but 
the most sacred texts adaptations and additions were made in the course 
of transmission. There was no copyright, and nothing that could, be 
recognized as plagiarism in a tradition in which texts were recreated 
by word of mouth for successive generations. These characteristics 
(anonymity, and free adaptation and addition) are found also in the 
written literature, which throughout the Sasanian period is still very 
much the dependent child of the oral tradition. Together with the 
relative fewness of the surviving works, they make the precise dating 
of any given Sasanian text a very difficult matter. Further factors 
which create problems are a poor manuscript-tradition (no manuscript 
survives from earlier than the 14th century A.C., and in those which 
exist there are many scribal inaccuracies), and a difficult script. In 
Book Pahlavi (the developed Pahlavi script known to us from these 
mss.) a number of letters have fallen together, and ambiguities abound. 

In the form in which we have it, the Letter of Tawar is itself an 
anonymous work, for which Ibnu-1 MuqafiV gives as his authority 
one Bahram son of Xorzad, and " the learned men of Pars " K The 

sen has moreover found a passage In the FSrs Name, evidently derived from the Letter o 
Tcmsar, which is missing from Ibn Isfandiyar's version (see below, p. 66, note ). From 
this he concluded (pp. «"/., p. 55) that " Ibn Isfandiyar sometimes abridged die text of Ibnu'l 
Muqaffa* ". The passage in question is short, however, and Ibn Isfandiyar may have 
omitted it by accident. To abbreviate does not seem in bis character. 

t The actual statement is that Ibnu-1 Muqaffa' " spoke on the authority of Bahram 
bin Xorzad, who (spoke) on the authority of his father Manucihx, mobad of Xoiasaii, and 
that of the learned men of Pars ". The natural interpretation of this, syntactically, is that 
Bahram son of Xorzad had as his father ManGcihr. There are no ms.-variants to explain 
this contradiction (see beLow, p. 26 note 1). Daimesteter firmly took the relative sentence 
to qualify the dependent noun Xorzad, and thus understood Manucihr to be the father 
not of Bahram, but of Xorzad (J As., 1894, p. 191). As he points out, the statement may 
refer (in the usual manner of Pahlavi colophons) to a copyist of the ms., Babram, who 
copied it from another ms. in his father's possession; or it may refer to a redactor of the text 

— 5 — 

work begins with a brief sketch of the history of Iran down to the time 
of Ardasir, the first Sasanian king (who reigned c. 224-240 A.C.) : the 
death of Darius, the division of Iran by Alexander among many local 
kings, Alexander's own death, the rise, long after, of Ardasir himself, 
and his conquest of 90 descendants of those local kings. This sketch 
serves as introduction. The writer then tells how one of the kings, 
Gusnasp, king of Pariswar i and Tabaristan, delayed in submitting 
to Ardasir; and how Ardasir on his side was slow to proceed against 
him, because his forbears <( had retaken Pariswar by force and arms 
from Alexander's lieutenants, and... had adhered to the faith and party 
of the kings of Pars " 2. Gusnasp thus had a respite during which 
he wrote to Tansar, chief her bad of Ardasir, setting out reasons for 
his reluctance to declare allegiance to the king. The bulk of the work 
consists of the letter written him in reply by Tansar, in which his points 
are taken one by one. Whether or not this letter can be regarded as 
an authentic document of the time of Ardasir has been a matter for 
discussion since the be gi nning of the present century. 

The putative author of the Letter is known to us from a primary 
Zoroastrian source, the Denkard, of which, unfortunately, it has been 
truly said; " the text of this formidable work is notoriously corrupt, 
and its style cramped, arid, and obscure " 3, Six books of the Denkard 
survive. In Book III there are two passages recording the names of 
those who helped preserve the sacred texts of the Zoroastrians. The 
longer of these passages 4 appears to be a document of the time of 
Xosrau I Anosirvan (531-78 A.C.), since in it Xosrau is referred to 
as "his present Majesty " (im bay) 5. In this account it is said that, 
after the havoc wrought by Alexander, Valaxs the Arsacid ordered the 
preservation of the Avesta and Zand throughout his lands. After 
him the King of kings, Ardasir son of Papak> sought " through the 

i On the extent of Pariswar see W. B. Herming's remarks, below p. 29, note 7, 
In the present work Persian forms (such as Gusnasp, Tabaristan, Pars) have been preferred 
to Arabicised ones (Jasnasf, Tabaristan, Fars). 

2 Translation, below, pp. 29-30. 

3 R. C. Zaehner, Zurvan, a Zoroastrian DileMtna (Oxford, 1955), p. 7. 

4 Denkard, ed. D. M. Madan (Bombay, 1911), Vol. I, pp. 411-12; transcribed by 
H. W. Bailey, Zoroastrian Problems in the Ninth-Century Books (Oxford, 1943), appendix 
VII, pp. 218-19; and by Zaehner, op. cit., pp. 31-2, with translation, pp. 7-9, 

5 See C. Bartholomae, Zur Kemtniss der mitteliranischen Mundarlen, iii (Sb. Heidel- 
berger Ak. W., 1920), p. 9, n. 2. 

— 6 — 

just authority of Tansar " (pad rdst-dastwarih i Tansar) 1 to gather 
the scattered teachings of the faith at his own court. " Tansar under- 
took the task, and accepted that one [traditional text?], and rejected 
the other from the canon " (Tansar abar mad ud hdn f ewag fraz padi- 
rift ud abdrig az dastwar[ih] hist) 2 . In the second passage 3 it is simi- 
larly said that, when Ardasir had the scattered works collected in one 
place, *' the orthodox, righteous Tansar was her bad, and he undertook 
the task..." (poryotkeS ahlaw Tansar hirbad bud ud abar mad...) 4 . 
A ms. variant here gives Tansar the title herbadan herbad i.e. " chief 
herbad ". The same title is given him in the Letter, and also in various 
Islamic histories; but it is in fact doubtful whether thj$ title existed in 
the early Sasanian period. The functions, and relative rank, of the two 
groups of Zoroastrian priests, the herbads and the mobads, are also not 
clearly known for that epoch. 

Tansar's name occurs again in Book VII of the Denkard. This 
book, deriving apparently from Avestan sources with Middle Persian 
enlargements, contains a chapter about great men and events between 
the death of king Vistasp (Zoroaster's patron) and the *' end of the 
kingship of Eransahr " 5. Ardasir i Papakan is mentioned, " and with 
him Tansar " («-i Tansar pad abdgih) 6 . The text describes (obscurely) 
the troubles which will come upon the land of Iran in their day, and 
ends: *' Upon that land that evil strife will come, through that evil 
devil-worship and that evil slandering. And that evil strife will not 
be ended for that land, nor that evil devil-worship, nor that evil slan- 
dering, until they give acceptance to him, Tansar the priest, the spi- 
ritual leader, eloquent, truthful, just. And when they give accep- 
tance to Tansar ... those lands, if they wish, will find healing, instead 
of divergence from Zoroaster's faith ". {abar 5 hdn deh hdn apdron 
andstih padid, pad hdn apdron dewasn udpad hdn apdron spazgih. Ud ne-z 
az hdn deh hdn apdron andstih fraz absihed, ne hdn apdron dewasn ud 
ne hdn apdron spazgih, td ka 5 awe *dahend padiriSn, dhron i menog 

i Denkard, ed. Madan, p. 412 1. 12. 

2 Denkard, 11. 13-14. 

3 Denkard, pp. 404-06; transcribed by Bailey, op. cit., pp. 217-18. 
* Denkard, p. 406 1. 6. 

5 Denkard Bk VTJ Chapter 7; ed. Madan, vol. n, p. 651 ff.; translated by E. West. 
Sacred Bocks of the East, XLVTI, p. 82 ff. 
« Denkard, p. 651 11. 17-18. 

— 7 — 

sarddr i purr-guftdr I rdst-guftdr i ahlaw, Tansar. Ud ka dahend padirisn 
o ... Tansar, ast ku awesdn deh, ka xwdhend, besdzisn windend, ud ne 
an-ewenagih az hdn i Zarduxst den) 1 . 

This passage suggests that Tansar laboured, not only to establish 
a canon of scripture and religious orthodoxy, but also to promote 
concord in the land of Iran, which, in the light of his close link with 
Ardasir, could only mean for him unity under that monarch's rule. It 
is precisely for this end that we see him striving in the Letter. Here, 
writing to a co-religionist, he is not concerned to combat devil-wor- 
ship, hut to press Ardasir' s claims as overlord and upholder of the faith, 
and to persuade Gusnasp not to stand out against him, nor to believe 
"evil slandering" about him. Our two Sasanian sources, the Den- 
kard and the Letter, are thus admirably in accord. Secondary Islamic 
sources preserve the same tradition. 

For the reasons already indicated, however, Pahlavi books are 
not ideal historical sources; and inscriptional evidence, where it exists, 
is greatly to be preferred. So far, however, the only evidence an inscrip- 
tion has provided with regard to Tansar is for the form of his name. 
This varies in the Islamic sources 2 , where two spellings predominate, 
in transliteration tnsr and twsr. These can both derive from a single 
late Pahlavi form, since in Book Pahlavi the letter w (also representing 
ujo) is identical with the letter n. Until the present century no other 
instance of either a tnsr or a twsr was known; and since a deplorable 
etymology in the Letter 3, based on a pronunciation Tansar, is attri- 
buted to Bahram i Xorzad, it seemed right to adopt this as the tradi- 
tional Zoroastrian pronunciation. 

In this century, however, two great Sasanian inscriptions have 
been uncovered on the base of the Ka'ba-yi Zardust, an Achaeme- 
nian .building at the foot of the mountain-wall of Naqs-i Rustam, 
near Persepolis, where Darius and his successors were buried. One 
inscription 4 , in Middle Persian, Parthian and Greek, was carved by 
. command of Sabuhr I, son of Ardasir (who reigned c. 240-270 A.C.). 

* Ibid., p. 652 11. 9-17; on this passage see M. Mold, Culte, Mythe et Cosmologie dans 
If Iran ancien (Pan's, 1963), p. 213. 

2 Sec Darmesteter, Journal asiatique, 1894, pp. 186-87; M. Minovi, preface to his 
edition of the Tansar Name (Tehran, 1932), pp. jj-*. 

3 See translation below, p, 30, with note 1. 

4 See M. Sprengling, Third Century Iran. Sapor and Kartir (Chicago, 1953), with 

_ 8 — 

It records his victories, and also the names of his father's court and 
his own for whom religious rites were performed through endowments- 
Among those of Sabuhr's own time appears one Mihrag son of Tosar 
(in Middle Persian, 1. 30, mtrky ZY twslk'n; Parthian, 1. 24, mirk twsrkn, 
Greek, line 59, peeQcx xovaoeQiyav). This occurrence of a Sasanian 
proper name Tosar makes it probable that the priest's name is also to 
be read in this way; but the form Tansar has by now gained too wide 
a currency for it to be usefully displaced. 

For Ardasir's time, no priest is mentioned in the inscription; 
but towards the end of the names given for Sabuhr's reign is that of 
" Karder the herbad " (Middle Persian, 1. 34, ktlyr ZY r ylppt\ Parthian 
1. 2S krtyr 'krpiy; Greek, 1- 66, *og*«g ftayov); and beneath Sabuhr's 
own inscription is another, in Middle Persian only, carved by this same 
priest 1. Another short inscription of Karder's is to be found across 
the wide valley at Naqs-i Rajab \ a deep small cleft in the rocks where 
Sasanian kings set inscriptions. Here a portrait of Karder, with hand 
upraised, is carved beside the text. Further, two long inscriptions 
of his exist, one on the mountain-face of Naqs-i Rustam 3 itself, near 
the Ka'ba; the other far away to the south, near the hamlet of Sar- 
Mashad in Fars 4 . 

The existence of these inscriptions is in itself remarkable. No 
king of the Sasanian period has left such a wealth of inscribed text, 
certainly no other commoner. It is plain that Karder was a great and 
powerful personage. He was also remarkably long-lived. In his 
inscriptions he tells us that he was a herbad under Ardasir (although 

references to earlier publications; E. Honigmann and A. Maricq, Recherches sur les res 
gestae dm Saporis (Louvain, 1953); W. B. Henning, " Notes on the Great Inscription of 
Sapiir I ", Mwn Memorial Volume (Bombay, 1954), pp. 40-54; A. Maricq, " Res gestae 
divi Saporis", Syria, XXXV (1958), pp. 295-360. 

i See Sprengling, op. tit., pp. 46-60; W. B. Helming, " Minor Inscriptions of Kartlr ", 
Corpus Inscriptions Irankarum, Part III, Vol. II, Plates, Portfolio III, plates bcxi-lxxix 
(London, 1963); M-L, Oiauraont, " L'inscription de Kartir", Journal asiatique, 1960, p. 
339 ff.; this translation has been reproduced, with minor alterations by the author, by R. 
Gagd in his La Montee des Sassanides ti VHeure de Palmyre (Paris, 1964), pp. 323-28. 

2 See Sprengling, op. cit., pp. 63-69; Henning, op. tit., plates Ixxx-lxxxiv. 

' Sec Sprengling, op. tit., p. 61; Henning, " The Inscription of Naqs-i Rustam", 
C.I.L, Part HI, Vol. H, Plates, Portfolio H (London, 1957), with Portfolio HI, plates xHx-btx. 

« See Henning, "The Inscription of Sar-MaShad ", CJ.I., Part HI, Vol. II, Plates, 
Portfolio 1 (London, 1955). 

. ^ 

— 9 — 

this he mentions only in the longer inscriptions of Naqs-i Rustam and 
Sar-Mashad). Sabuhr made him mobad and herbad. Under Hormizd 
I he received the title (borne by others after him) of Mobad o/Ohrmazd; 
and this he bore also under Vahram I, II and III, the last-named of 
whom further conferred on him the honorific Boxt-ruwan-Varhran 
(" Saved is the soul of Vahram "). His name finally appears on the 
monument set up at Paikuli by Narseh, who reigned 293-302 A.C. *. 
He thus lived through the reigns of six kings, and in four of them enjoyed 
power and position. Under Narseh dignity was still accorded him. 
Even if we assume - as is probable - that he was only young when 
Ardasir's reign ended, at Narseh's accession he must have been at least 
in his seventies. 

Karder in his inscriptions concerns himself much with religion. 
He declares that he laboured to promote true beliefs within the empire, 
in Iran and non-Iran, particularly beliefs in the life hereafter, with 
reward or punishment for conduct here below; that he encouraged 
religious practice, with offerings and services; that he chastised unbe- 
lievers, upbraided and improved heretics, had idols destroyed and 
sacred fires established throughout the realm. His inscriptions have 
been carved that these acts of his may be made known, and his name 
not forgotten by those who come after. 

The strange fact is that, had Karder not wrought in this manner 
to secure his own fame, he would have been known to us only from 
hostile sources. His name occurs, blackly, in Manichaean books 2 , 
for it was one of his achievements, under Bahram I, to bring about 
the martyrdom of Mani and the persecution of his followers. In the 
Zoroastrian tradition, Karder has been utterly forgotten. This fact, 
though perplexing, is not so strange as it first appears, when one consi- 
ders the startling gaps which exist in early Sasanian history. Some 
scholars have, however, boggled at it; and since Tansar the herbad is 
unknown in Sasanian inscriptions, whereas Karder the herbad and 
mobad is unknown in Pahlavi literary tradition, they have sought 
to resolve the problem by identifying the two (thus decreasing again 

» See E. Herzfeld, Paikuli (Berlin, 1524) p. 100 (Middle Persian 1. 16, Parthian 1- 15). 

2 See H. J. Polotsky, Manichaische Homlien (Stuttgart, 1934), p. 4S, 11. 14-17 and ff.; 
W. B. Henning, " Mani's Last Journey ", Bulletin, of the School of Oriental and African 
Scudies, X, 4 (1942), p. 948 (text T ii D 163 1. 11). (Karder the son of Ardawan, ibid., p. 950 
ff., is now known to be a different person, see below, p. 10, n. 2). 

— 10 — 

by one the known personae of the period) '. This solution cannot 
be seriously entertained; the objections are too numerous. First^ 
there is the cardinal point of the difference in names. To explain 
this away, it has been suggested that Karder was not a proper name, 
but an honorific; but, apart from all other difficulties inherent in this 
explanation, it founders on the fact that Karder is an attested name 
from the late Achaemenian and Sasanian periods 2 . Earlier, before 
Karder's inscriptions had been studied, Christensen suggested that 
the name Tansar might be an honorific 3 . Now this name, in the form 
Tosar, has also been attested. There are thus two distinct, established, 
proper names, Karder and Tosar. It is natural to assume them to have 
been borne by two distinct persons. 

Secondly, chronology is against the suggestion. Tansar was evident- 
ly at the height of his power and influence under Ardasir, whose reign 
ended c. A.C. 240. There is no evidence to suggest that Karder had 
attained eminence at that time, when, the natural presumption is, he 
was only a young man. 

Thirdly, there is the point of their achievements. Tansar is chief- 
ly celebrated in the literary tradition for his work in preserving the 
sacred texts of the Zoroastrians, and in establishing an orthodox 
canon. Karder, enumerating his own labours, does not include any 
such work among them; and it is indeed probable that, following soon 
after Tansar, he had no especial contribution to make in this field. 

One reason why, in the teeth of evidence, the two priests have been 
identified, is that each of them in turn has been named the " founder " 
of the Sasanian Zoroastrian church. Since this part called for only 
one actor, and both men had been cast for it, the assumption had to 
be made that they were identical. In fact neither Tansar nor Karder 
makes any such claim, nor is it made for them in any primary source 4 . 

1 See principally E. Herzfeld, Archaeological History of Iran (London, 1935), p. 100 ff. 

? See F. Justi, Iranisches Namenbuch, p. 158; E. Porada, Corpus of Near Eastern 
Seals, I (Washington, 1948), no, 833. In Sabuhr's inscription on the Ka'ba, beneath the 
name of Karder the herbad comes that of Karder son of Axdawan (Middle Persian 1. 35, 
Parthian 1. 28, Greek 1. 67). This Karder is known also from a Middle Persian Mani- 
chaean fragment, M 3, 1. 19; see Pfenning, SSOAS, X, 4, p. 950. 

3 See Acta Orienlalia, X, p. 47. 

* The statement that " the religion of Zoroaster ... (was) restored by ArdaSir " (transl., 
below, p. 62) is of a different order, and was evidently inspired in part by political 

— 11 — 

The founder of Zoroastrian ism as a whole was Zoroaster; his religion 
was adopted by the Achaemenians, and there is evidence that it lived 
on in Pars, and elsewhere in Iran, in unbroken continuity throughout 
the Parthian period. Reform, and new zeal in spreading the faith, 
were evidently called for from time to time; but more than one refor- 
mer and more than one zealous priest are not only possible but even 
probable in the vigorous early years of Sasanian rule. The natural 
presumption is simply that Karder followed Tansar, either directly 
or after intermediaries, as another great leader of Zoroastrianism du- 
ring that remarkable epoch. 

To accept Tansar as a historical figure is one thing. To attribute 
to him the Letter is a separate matter. The first editor of the work, 
J. Darmesteter, took the document to be in the main authentic, with 
interpolations, made probably by Ibnu-1 Muqaffa' at the time of trans- 
lation 1 . Doubt was first voiced by J. Marquart 2 , who pointed out 
a historical inaccuracy. According to the Letter, the king of Kerman 
at the time of Ardasir was one Qabus, who voluntarily submitted to 
Ardasir and was allowed to retain the title 3 ; but according to other 
sources the king of Kerman then was a certain Valaxs, who was con- 
quered by Ardasir. This is borne out by Sabuhr's inscription on the 
Ka'be-yi Zardust, where the third person given in the list of those living 
under Ardasir is an " Ardasir, king of Kerman " 4 . The old Kayanian 
names such as Qabus seem to have become popular among the Sasanians 
only from the second half of the 5th. century onwards 5 . Marquart 
pointed out that the elder brother of Xosrau I Anosirvan, who ruled 
Pariswar before Xosrau's accession, was called Qabus; and he thought 
that this might have suggested the name to the author or redactor of 
the Letter, which he thought was either written or re-drafted in Xo- 
srau's own day. Independently A. Christensen had pointed out other 
historical inaccuracies 6 . Thus with regard to local kings, Ardasir is 
made to say in the Letter: " No other man, not being of our house, shall 

i In the Journal asiatique, 1 894, text, pp. 1 85-250 ; transl. pp. 502-55. For the authen- 
ticity of the core of the work see especially his remarks on p. 196. 

2 In his Eransahr nach der Geographic des Ps. Moses Xcrewc'i (Berlin, 1901), p. 30-. 

3 See trans!., below, pp. 34—35. 

* Middle Persian version, 1. 28; Parthian, 1. 23; Greek I. 55. 

5 See Noldeke, Das iranische Nationalepos, 2nd ed. (Berlin and Leipzig, 1920), p. 5. 

6 See his L'Etnpire des Sassanides, pp. 111-12. Christensen further developed his 

— 12 — 

be called king, but the Lords of the Marches - of Alan and the western 
region, of Xwarezm and Kabul " K By these marcher-lords,, Christen- 
sen points out, " are no doubt to be understood the marzban of these 
countries, established by Xosrau I, who had the privilege of sitting 
on a throne of gold, and whose office, exceptionally, descended to their 
heirs " 2 . 

In other passages the Turks, first known from the sixth century, 
are mentioned; and the borders of the Persian Empire are given as 
" from the river of Balkh up to the furthermost borders of the land 
of ASarbaigan and of Persarmenia, and from the Euphrates and the 
land of the Arabs up to Oman and Makran and thence to Kabul and 
Toxaristan " 3. From this description Christensen deduced that the 
Letter was composed " after the conquests of Xosrau I m the east 
through the destruction of the Hephthalites, but before the taking of the 
Yemen, that is to say, between 557 and 570 " 4 . 

Christensen further thought that Tansar's declaration that heretics 
were less harshly treated than formerly 5 could not be part of a third- 
century document, since death could not have been inflicted for apo- 
stasy before Zoroastrianism became, with Ardasir, the strong religion 
of state; and he also held that the passage about naming the heir to 
the throne was more suitable to " the epoch between Kavad and Hor- 
mizd IV " than to the time of Ardasir 6 . 

More generally, Christensen thought that in content the Letter, 
with its strong insistence upon the merits of order, respect for rank 
and tradition, and submission to the state, accorded admirably with the 
reign of Xosrau, when the king was forced to restore order after the 
social and religious upheavals caused in the reign of his father by the - 
Mazdakite movement 7 . Further, the strongly didactic bent of the 
Letter seemed to bim to link it with the handarz literature (collections 
of gnomic sayings) known to have flourished under Xosrau. Moreover, 

arguments in his Les gesfes des ro'S dans ?es traditions de I'Iran antique (Paris, 1936), and 
L'Iran sous les Sassanides (Copenhagen, 1st edition, 1937; 2nd edition, 1944). 

i Se<? trans I., below, p. 35. 

2 V Empire, p. 112; Ulran (2nd. ed.), P- 65. 

i Translation, below* p. 63. 

4 UEtnpire, p. 112, Ulran, p. €5, 

5 Transl., below, p. 42, 

* U Empire, p. Ill, Ulran, p. 64. 
7 See in detail Les Gestes, p. 85 ff. 

— 13 — 

the spirit and style of the opening part of the letter proper l , where 
Tansar explains to Gusnasp his way of life and motives of conduct, 
reminded Christensen forcibly of the autobiography of Burzoe, Xosrau's 
famous physician. This autobiography also was translated by Ibnu-1 
Muqaffa', as the introduction to his rendering of Burzoe's Kalilag 
u Dimnag 2 . Both it and the Tansar passage show a striking asceticism 
and withdrawal from the. world, which is alien to Zoroastrianism (as 
Tansar himself is made half to acknowledge 3 ). Noldeke was inclined 
to attribute this asceticism in Burzoe to Indian influences 4 ; but Chri- 
stensen found its source in influences within 6th-century Iran itself, 
from Christianity, Gnosticism, Manichaeism and Mazdakism 5 ; and 
he held therefore that Burzoe's preface and the Letter were both in 
this respect typical of the reign of Xosrau. 

Taking all the evidence together, Christensen came to the conclu- 
sion that the Letter was a " literary fiction " of the time of Xosrau, 
" when tradition had turned Ardasir into the model of political wis- 
dom and the founder of the entire organisation of the Empire ". The 
Letter, he wrote, " gives me the impression of being a historical, theo- 
logical, political and ethical dissertation ... meant to instruct the contem- 
porary (i.e. the 6th-century) reader ** 6 . There is in fact a sentence in 
the Letter which states: " So things remained down to the time of Xosrau 
Anosirvan " 7 . This remark, which Darmesteter had taken as an in- 
terpolation by Ibnu-1 MuqahV or by Bahiam i Xorzad 8 , Christensen 
thought was more probably a parenthetical comment by the author 
of the original 6th-century treatise 9. 

1 See transl., below, p. 30 ff. 

2 See Th- Noldeke, Burzoes Einleitung zu dem Bucke Kalila wa Dimna, ubersetzt und 
erlaicfert (Schriften der Wissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft in Strassburg 12. Heft); a French 
translation of most of the preface (from Noldeke's German) was given by A. Chxisteesen 
as an appendix to his article " La legende du sage Buzurjmihr ", Acta Orientalw, VIII 
(1930), pp. 112-14, and is partly reproduced in his Ulran, pp. 423-25. 

3 See transl., below, p. 32. 

4 See his Burzoes Einleitimg, p. 5. 

s See Ulran, pp. 429-31, with citation from the contemporary Paulus Persa, ibid; 
p. 427; cf. L. C. Casartelli, La philosophic religieuse du mazdeisme sous les Sassanides (Lou- 
vain, 1884), p. 1. 

6 U Empire, p. Ill; Ulran, p. 63. 

* Sec transl-, below, p. 65. 

» J As, 1894, p. 549, n. 2. 

' Les Gestes, p. 89. 

— 14 — 

The Letter had meantime been edited again, from better manu- 
scripts \ by Mojtaba Minovi 2, who gave his support to the 6th-century 
dating. In his preface and notes Minovi drew attention to close and 
interesting parallels which exist between the Letter and the. Testament 
of ArdaSir as preserved in the Tajdribu-l Umam of Ibn Miskawayh 3. 
The resemblances are in places so close that it seems that there must 
have been some interdependence of the texts. The Testament purports 
to be the words of Ardasir to his successors, in which he bequeathes 
to them counsel and political wisdom. Two such Testaments are cata- 
logued by Ibn an-Nadim in his Fihrist 4, one general and one addressed 
to his son Sabuhr. 

In the Fars-Name* it is said that, when Xosrau Anosirvan had 
the power firmly in his hands, he put into practice the political testa- 
ments of Ardasir. Christensen, adducing this passage, states that the 
Testament of Ardasir is undoubtedly unauthentic, giving for his reason 
that " the style is that of the andarz of the time of Xosrau I " *. Long 
before this, Noldeke had firmly characterised the Testament as a " late, 
rhetorical-paraenetical work " ?. The close resemblances between 
the Testament and the Letter served therefore to strengthen opi- 
nion that the latter was a piece of political propaganda, fabricated to 
justify Xosrau in his practices rather than existing to provide a basis 
for them. 

The Letter of Tansar is longer than the Testament of Ardasir as 
preserved by Ibn Miskawayh. This is partly due to the insertion in 
the former, without any very striking relevance, of two stories of 
Indian origin, the purpose being, one would hazard, to sugar the 
rather harsh didacticism of the text ». One story is told to illustrate 

1 On the manuscripts see below, pp. 23-24. 

2 As the Tansar Name, Or the Epistle of Tansar, Tehran, 1932, 

3 See the facsimile, Gibb Memorial Series, (1900), p, 99 ff,; the text of the Testament 
has been printed by Deh Khoda in his Amsal va Hikam (Tehran, 1931), III, p, 1613 ff. 

« Kitab al-Fihrist. ed. G. FlugeJ (Leipzig, 1871), p. J26, 1. 17, p. 21$, i. 1. 
s Ed. G. Le Strange and R. A. Nicholson, Gibb Memorial Series, new series, Vol. I, 
1921, p. 88. 

« Les Gestes, p. 91. Quotations from the testament in Arabic histories, and in the 
Sdhname, are cited by Christensen, op. cit., p. 91 ff. 

7 See his Geschichte der Perser und Amber zur Zeil der Sasamden am der arabischen 
Ckronik des Tabari (Leyden, 1879), p. 21, n. 2. 

8 See "The Ind ian Fables in the Letter of Tansar "', Asia Major, n.s. V i (1955), p. 50 ff. 

— 15 — 

the need to keep a balance in life between resignation to fate and reliance 
upon one's own efforts \. The protagonist, a certain king Jahtal \ 
has been identified with a king Yudhistira of the first Gonandiya 
dynasty, who lost and re- won his kingdom in Gandhara at a date pro- 
bably somewhere around 400-450 A.C., well after the reign of Arda- 
sir. The other story is about a quarrel between a servant-girl and a 
ram, which results, surprisingly, in the death of a troop of monkeys 3 . 
Its moral is twofold: that the association of the iU-assorted is dangerous, 
and that one should not remain near those who dispute. The oldest 
known version of this story is a Buddhist tale translated into Chinese 
in 472 A.C. A more elaborate version, close to that of the Letter, oc- 
curs in a Chinese translation of fables from the Mulasarvastivdda 
Vinaya. The Mulasarvastivadins were particularly associated with 
Gandhara-Kashmir; and their Vinaya, though known only from a 
comparatively late date (the seventh century onwards), is held to have 
been composed about the third or fourth century A.C. The story is 
found also in the Book of Sindbdd, a Middle Persian work derived from 
an Indian original. The Book of Sindbdd is a collection of stories within 
a frame-story, told for amusement and a didactic purpose. The Tuti 
Name and Burzoe's famous Kalilag u Dimnag are similar works, like- 
wise deriving from Indian sources 4 . All are attributed to Xosrau's 
reign, and, like the fables in the Letter, illustrate the influence of Indian 
literature on 6th-century Iran. 

The evidence for a 6th-century date for the Letter is thus consi- 
derable; and the consensus of scholarly opinion has come to be that 
the treatise is in fact a literary forgery perpetrated for political pur- 
poses, the prestige of the founder of the dynasty and his great herbad, 
Tansar, being drawn on to help Xosrau to re-establish the authority 

i See transl., below, pp. 68-69. 

2 The reading of the name was established by Minovi, see Asia Major, V, i, p. 51 
with n. 3. 

3 See trans!., below, pp. 55-59. 

4 The story of the servant-girl and the ram is also found, as Daxmester showed, in 
the Pancatantra from which Kalilag u Dimnag derives; but it is not in the Arabic translation 
of this work by Ibnui MuqaftV. Darmesteter therefore suggested that lbnu'1 Muqaffa' 
had himself taken it from the Pahlavi Kalilag u Dimnag, and inserted it in his translation 
of the Letter. Subsequent researches by J, Heriel and F. Edgerton have shown however 
that the story was not in fact part of the early Pancatantra as known to Burzoe. See further 
Asia Major, loc. cit,, p. 55 f. 

— 16 — 

of both state and church. (That these two are twins, born of the one 
womb, is strikingly stated in both the Letter and the Testament) K 

Yet though this interpretation is now widely held and well esta- 
blished, there are reasons for questioning its validity. To say of the 
Letter that " anachronism is general " 2 is to go too far. In fact most 
of the text is as appropriate to the reign of Ardasir as to that of Xosrau. 
It is true that the Mazdakite movement brought Xosrau to the throne 
of a troubled land, where authority had been questioned and tradition 
undermined; but what of Ardasir, who had overthrown a huge, ram- 
shackle empire and was seeking, himself alone, to weld its parts into a 
unified whole? He too had much need of propaganda to persuade men 
of influence to submit to his rule and to accept his dictates, Tabarl 
in fact explicitly states that " when Ardasir first took the field, he wrote 
urgent letters to the " kings of the peoples ", in which he established 
his claim and summoned them to obey him " 3 , On the evidence simply 
of its general tenor there is therefore no cause to doubt that the Letter 
is what it purports to be, a product of Ardasir's reign. A scholar as 
learned as Darmesteter was prepared to accept it as in the main authentic. 
It is only the existence of particular passages^ which must undeniably 
be assigned to the later period, that has led to recognition of the fact 
that the general tenor of the work ako suits the reign of Xosrau. From 
here some scholars have advanced to the position that it only suits 
his reign; but this further step in argument is unjustifiable. 

Moreover, against this argument is the fact that there is at least 
one passage in the Letter which is appropriate to Ardasir's reign, and 
to his reign alone, and whose presence cannot be explained as a piece 
of pragmatic fiction. This is the passage where Gusnasp makes the 
charge against Ardasir that " the King of kings has taken away fires 
from the fire-temples, extinguished them and blotted them out ". To 
this Tansar replies: "The truth is that after Darius each of the " kings 
of the peqples " built his own fire-temple. This was pure innovation, 

1 See transl,, below, p. 33, with note 7. 

2 J. Gag6, La Montee des Sassanides et I'Heure de Palmyre, p. 264. (Oo pp. 263-65, 
M. Gage gives a lucid summing-up of the case for the 6th-century daring of the Letter, and 
on pp. 266-78 he reproduces a large part of Darmesteter's French translation of it). 

* See Noldeke, Tabari, pp. 20-21. In a footnote Noldeke refers to the translation 
by Ibnu'l Muqaffa' of Tansar's letter which however he dismisses firmly as a " rhetorical 
product of the late Sasanian period " (ibid., p. 21, n. 2). 

— 17 — 

introduced by them without the authority of kings of old. The King 
of kings has razed the temples, and confiscated the endowments, and 
had the fires carried back to their places of origin " i. Neither the 
charge nor the defence has any relevance to the reign of Xosrau, nor 
any value as propaganda; but they fit admirably with the time of Arda- 
sir, who overthrew many local rulers and seized their lands. To de- 
stroy dynastic shrines and to carry off royal fires to grow cold by his 
own was plainly an effective symbol of conquest. Ardasir's bringing 
back of trophies to his own fire-temples is actually mentioned by Isla- 
mic authors 2 . Such conduct would naturally cause concern to the 
king of Pariswar, who presumably had his own dynastic fire. 

In another passage Tansar, seeking to set Ardasir's merits in all 
their brightness against a dark background, says that his predecessors 
" brought nothing but desolation and corruption to the world; cities 
became deserts, and buildings were razed. In the space of 14 years, 
through policy and strength and skill, he (Ardasir) brought it about 
that he made water flow in every desert and established towns and 
created groups of villages ... He found builders and inhabitants and 
caused roads to be made ... Whoever considers his achievements during 
these 14 years ... will agree ■ that ... the world has not known so true 
a king " 3 . As Darmesteter has pointed out, this passage has a ring 
of truth, supposing 14 years to be the time needed by Ardasir to esta- 
blish his dominion over the regions of the Parthian empire. His la- 
bours as a builder of cities during that time are well attested. 

It could be argued that such passages serve merely to show the 
cleverness of the 6th-century fabricator, who thus gave verisimilitude . 
to his work; but this is not really a satisfactory explanation. It is im- 
possible to imagine a propagandist under Xosrau deliberately inventing 
the damaging accusation of razing fire-temples, and further making 
his puppet Tansar admit the charge. There are, moreover, a number 
of other charges in the Letter which are awkward, and difficult to rebut. 
As Darmesteter has said, the document embodies " un veritable acte 
d'accusation contre Ardasir " 4 , It is not in fact the sort of document 

i Transl., below, p. 47. 

2 See, e.g., Tabari, Noldeke's trans!., pp. 12, 17. 

3 Transl., below, p. 67. 

i JAs., 1894, pp. 192-93. 

r- 18 — 

to be invented for the credit of the dynasty, though one can imagine 
its being put to use if it already existed. If, however, the putative 
6th-century fabricator of the work did not invent the charges contained 
in it, where did he get them from? What were his sources? And why 
did his handling of them vary so much? Why was he clever enough 
to write in one place " this latter Ardasir is of far greater worth than 
the Ardasir of old ", when only a few sentences before he has said: 
"so things remained down to the time of'Xosrau Anosirvan " i? 
The theory of a literary forgery forces us to contradictory assumptions: 
that the fabricator was a man both clever and stupid, one gifted with 
historical knowledge and historical feeling, yet guilty of flagrant and 
foolish anachronisms; a respecter of tradition, who did not scruple 
to invent deliberate falsehood. There is no known parallel in Sasanian 
literature to reconcile us to such difficult assumptions. 

What we have abundant evidence for in Middle Persian is the 
very different process touched upon above, whereby, under the influence 
of the oral tradition, texts were rehandled in transmission, being adapted 
to the needs and interests of each successive generation. There was 
not necessarily anything cynical in this process, but it was extremely 
far-reaching, and continued down into Islamic times. To take a single 
example from many, one of the best known Zoroastrian works is the 
Arday Viraz Namag, the " Book of the just Viraz " 2 . This describes 
the journey in spirit of a righteous man to heaven and hell (a well- 
known type of oral mantic composition). The "just Vir52a " is men- 
tioned in the Avesta, and may therefore be held to have belonged to 
north-eastern Iran. His story must have been transmitted by many 
generations, and in its surviving Pahlavi version he has been transformed 
into an. inhabitant of Pars. In the final redaction there is an introduc- 
tory chapter which is evidently partly of post-conquest date, since ac- 
cording to it Viraz made his spirit-journey in order to establish the 
efficacy of certain Zoroastrian ceremonies, which inevitably came to 
be attacked under Islam. It would plainly be improper, however, to 
call this final redaction a 9th-century literary forgery, simply because 

i Transl., below, pp. 66, 65. 

2 Edited and translated by Martin Haug and E. W. West as The Book of Arda Viraf 
(Bombay and London, 1872); re-edited by J. Jamasp Asa as the Arda Viraf Nameh 
(Bombay. 1902). 

— 19 — 

jn it the text was adapted for the purposes of religious propaganda at 
that time. Such terms are not appropriate to Middle Persian literature, 
which is characterised by immense conservatism tempered by free adap- 

Some of these adaptations are purposeful, as is the introduction 
to the Arday Viraz Namag; others seem designed simply to add new 
knowledge and to bring a text up to date. Thus the great Middle Per- 
sian compilation, the Bundahisn, has for its 31st chapter a Pahlavi 
translation of the first chapter of an Avestan work, the Vendidad. 
The subject-matter of this goes back at least to Arsacid times ; yet in 
it ancient Sogdia, to the north-east of Iran, is confused with Syria and 
is innocently and misleadingly identified with Muslim Bagdad i. The 
references to Turks in the Letter are most probably anachronisms of 
this kind, which are by no means uncommon in Pahlavi literature. 
It is chronological vagueness rather than historical fiction that one 
encounters in early Iran, 

Other adaptations seem purely literary, intended to make a work 
currently fashionable and pleasing. Here again the dual influences 
of conservation and innovation can be seen at work, making individual 
texts extremely difficult to date. Christensen has made the point that 
handarz texts were popular at the time of Xosrau, and he has used 
this as evidence for dating both the Letter and the Testament of Ardasir. 
Gnomes are, however, a very ancient form of oral composition. There 
is evidence for the existence of an Avestan handarz literature 2 ; and 
one can certainly assume an Old Persian one to have flourished under 
the Achaemenians. Most of the Middle Persian handarz are anony- 
mous, but there are collections attributed to well-known kings or sages 3 . . 
The sage to whom the greatest number of fiandarz are attributed is 
Adurbad I Mahraspandan, who happens to have lived in the 4th cen- 
tury, under Sabuhr II; one set of handarz he delivers as precepts he 
himself had learnt from his master Mihr-Ohrmazd, who had learned 
them in his turn from one Adurag (a sage mentioned again elsewhere). 

i See the edition by T. IX Anklesaria (Bombay, 1908), p. 205, 1. 12; the translation, 
called Zand-akdsih, by B. T. Anklesaria (Bombay, 1956), p. 265. 

* One of the 21 books of the Sasanian Avesta, the BarisNask, is said to have consisted 
of handarz; some of these probably survive in translation in Book VI of the Dinkard. 

3 See in general S. Shaked, The Pahlavi Andarz Literature (doctoral thesis of London 
University, 1964). 

— 20 — 

This takes one well back, therefore, towards the third century for Sa- 
sanian handarz compositions. Other Sasanian handarz are simply 
attributed to the poryotkesan, the fathers of the church. It is true that 
there are two Middle Persian collections of handarz assigned to Xosrau I, 
as well as many sayings preserved in Islamic writings; and that other 
collections of handarz are attributed to his subjects, Wuzargmihr and 
Baxt-afrld. This does not justify an argument that the Letter ofTansar 
cannot belong to the third century because of stylistic resemblances 
to handarz literature. On the contrary, the continuous popularity 
of handarz provides a striking illustration of the conservatism of Middle 
Persian literature. 

What does seem probable is that written prose developed greater 
stylistic intricacy during the period, and that the personal element 
(largely lacking in demonstrably early works) became more prominent 
as the written tradition advanced. The only elaborate autobiographical 
passages known from Sasanian literature, apart from the opening of 
Tansar's letter, are the work of two 6th-century writers, Wuzargmihr 
and Burzoe. It seems very probable, therefore, that this part of the 
Letter is a 6th-century extension, a concession, like the added Indian 
fables, to the taste and interests of the day. Lawrence Mills has justly 
pointed out i how ill it assorts, in its other-worldliness, with the pro- 
nounced pragmatism of most of the text. Here again, however, we 
are back at particular passages which are to be assigned to the 6th 
century; the text as a whole is not affected. 

If the anonymous introduction to the letter proper, and all the 
demonstrably 6th-century passages, are excised, what remains, behind 
the veil of Ibn Isfandiyar's loquacity, is a short, trenchant document, 
which can perfectly well be a genuine letter of the third century. Re- 
luctance to accept it as such is in part due to vague feeling, the feeling 
that literary correspondence does not accord with the turbulence of 
the first Sasanian reign, that that period is too remote and too ill- 
documented for a letter written then to have descended to us today. 
As it happens, however, letter-writing was one of the oldest uses of 
the pen in Iran; and letters of a much, earlier period, written by Achae- 

1 See his Zaraftustra, Phito, the Achaemenids and Israel (Leipzig, 1905-06), p. 29. Mills 
was himself inclined to attribute the Letter to the early Islamic period. 

— 21 — 

menian Persians, have survived to be read again now *. These ancient 
letters are brief, dry and factual; but we have also a copy of part of a 
long letter written in Parthian by a Manichaean dignitary of the third 
century A.C 2 , which shows that vigorous, detailed letters were actually 
composed in the colloquial of that day. 

Records show that Ardasir was not only a ruthless conqueror; 
he was also a builder of towns and roads, a forger of unity, the founder 
of the empire. This was not merely a role invented for him by his 
descendants. Why then should we suppose that he and his herbad 
were not capable of statesmanlike use of the written word, to avoid 
bloodshed and to establish concord? Why should we doubt Tabarl's 
clear statement to this effect? As has been pointed out, Ardasir is 
not known to have conquered Tabaristan. This fact, far from telling 
against the authenticity of Tansar's letter, seems rather to support it. 
Better to woo with words a king entrenched behind northern mountains 
than to launch an arduous campaign against him. 

As to the other feeling, that in general texts do not survive from 
Ardasir's day, this is largely due to the transforming power of the trans- 
mitters. The story of the just Viraza, for example, was probably 
inherited by the Persians of Ardasir's time, and passed on by them 
to their descendants; and some of the lumdarz attributed to sages of 
Xosrau's reign may well have been as long current in Pars as the Per- 
sians had been there themselves. Texts were transmitted as a river 
flows, changing form and yet essentially the same. Little, therefore, 
except sacred texts received the fixed stamp of a particular period, 
until late Sasanian or early Islamic days, when the flow of Middle 
Persian literature gradually ceased, and such texts as survive remain 
in the last form which they took. It is natural, therefore, to think 
of Xosrau's reigu as productive, and that of Ardasir as barren ; natural, 
but probably wholly wrong. 

As for the actual preservation of written texts from Ardasir's day, 
Karder in his inscriptions refers frequently to documents which bore 
his own signature. These seem to have been charters and records. 

i See G. R. Driver, Aramaic Documents of the Fifth Century B.C. (Oxford, 1954). 

2 See F. C. Andreas and W. Henning, Mitieliranische Manichaica aus Chinesisch- 
Turkestan n (Sitzungsberkhte d. Preussischen Akademie der Wissemchaflen 1934. XXVII), 
p. 857 ff., text h n. 

— 22 — 

They and documents of state were certainly preserved, and it has been 
suggested that the Diz I nibist ( Si Stronghold of Writings ") which 
housed them is the Ka'ba-yi Zardust itself 1 . A copy of Tansar's 
letter to Gusnasp was presumably among these documents; and there 
is no positive reason to doubt that Ardasir also placed a written testa- 
ment (or testaments) there. Both documents may be presumed to have 
been re-copied, with adaptations and enlargements, at the time of Xosrau, 
when a certain similarity in the political situation made their contents 
particularly apposite. The likeness between the Letter and the Testa- 
ment may therefore have a twofold cause, a common origin at the court 
of Ardasir, and a common rehandling under Xosrau. 

If the Letter of Tansar is accepted as having at its core an authentic 
document, then it is a work of very great interest, embodying one of 
the oldest pieces of Middle Persian writing, and throwing valuable 
light on the time of Ardasir. It is especially interesting for the evidence 
it provides for the continuity of Zoroastrianism under the Parthians, 
and for local resistance to Ardasir's claims 2 . In its enlarged form the 
Letter casts a faint but fascinating light on the literary as well as the 
political history of two great Sasanian reigns. It has also a more ge- 
neral value, for in few countries is the transition from oral to written 
literature so long-drawn-out, so well attested, and so complex in its 
interactions as in Sasanian Iran. As a written document reshaped in 
the tradition of oral transmission (in which authorship has little impor- 
tance, and texts become common property), the Letter provides an 
interesting illustration of a stage in this great change in man's develop- 
ment 3 . 

i See Kenning, "The Inscription of Naqs-i Rustam", introduction. 

2 It is clear that, to the Zoroastrian GuSnasp, ArdaSir's vaunted "restoration" of 
the Faith was in some respects merely an overthrowing of traditions and established ob- 
servances. This Tansar in part admits, defending however the changes introduced by 
ArdaSir as a return to more Ancient ways (see especially below, p. 37). As Darmesteter 
comments, the plea of restoring the primitive faith was an excellent excuse for altering actual 
practices. Tansar also admits that occasionally ArdaSir did away with "some tyranny of the 
men of old which is not well for this age and time " (below, p. 36). Gusnasp's protests 
suggest that in fact by his " reform " Ardasir offended in some respects old Parthian ortho- 
doxy, rather than re-establishing Zoroastrianism in a heathen void, as is commonly suggested 
by Sasanian writers. 

3 While- the present work was in the press, a Danish translation, made from Minovi's 
edition, was published under the title Tansar's Brev (Copenhagen, 1965) by Hertha Kir- 
keterp-Mceller, who in her historical introduction follows ChristenseD in regarding the 

— 23 — 

The manuscripts and editions 

J. Darmesteter based his edition of the Letter of Tansar, published 
in the Journal asiatique for 1894, on a ms. of the Tarix-i Tabaristan 
belonging to the India Office Library, London, namely ms. 1134, dated 
A.H. 1032 (1632 A.C.), which he collated with a British Museum ms., 
Addenda no. 7633, dated A.H. 1067 (1656 A.C.). In transcribing these 
mss. he had the initial help of three of his former students (Ahmed- 
Bey Agaeff, M. Paul Ottavi and M. Ferte). These two mss. were the 
only ones available to him, but he pointed out the likehood that better 
ones existed. In the subsequent tirage a part of his edition, Darme- 
steter made a few small additions to the notes, and added some references. 

When E. Herzfeld visited Persia in 1926, he took among his books 
a copy of Darmesteter's edition. This attracted the attention of Moj- 
taba Minovi, one of the young Persian scholars who studied with Herz- 
feld. to whom he lent the work to copy. Minovi subsequently lent 
his copy of Darmesteter's text and textual notes to Deh Khoda, who 
reproduced the text in his Amsal va Hikam (Tehran, 1931), Vol. Ill, 
pp. 1621-40. 

Minovi later collated Darmesteter's text with a transcription made 
for c Abbas Iqbal of a ms. of the Tarix-i Tabaristan dated about A.H. 
970 (1562 A.C.). This ms, proved to contain, not only valuable va- 
riant readings, but also whole passages absent from the two mss. avai- 
lable to Darmesteter. The transcription of it was accordingly used 
by Minovi as the basis for a new edition of the text, published by him 

Letter as a Active work of the 6th century. In. 1967 a long article appeared in the Journal 
asiatique, 1966, i, pp. 1-142, by M. Grignaschi, devoted to the edition and translation (with 
commentary) of several short Arabic treatises of Sasanian origin, contained in the Turkish 
ms. Kopriilu 1608. These make a valuable addition to known Sasanian secular literature. 
Among them is a version of the Testament of Ardasir. 

Grignaschi has no reservations about dating both the Testament and its companion- 
work, the Letter of Tansar, to the reign of the last Sasanian king, Yazdigird III, regarding 
them as being " the survivors of a polemic on how to restore the Sasanian state, ruined by 
the civil wars of the beginning of the 7th century " (p. 9). This analysis suffers both from 
too cursory a consideration of the texts themselves, and from treating them in isolation from 
the rest of Middle Persian literature. For a general discussion of the interaction of oral 
and written traditions within the period see the present writer's contribution on Mid- 
dle Persian literature in the Handbuch der OrientalUtik (ed. B. Spuler) Abt. I, Bd. IV, ii 
(1968), which has been in the press since 3959. 

— 24 — 

as the Tansar Name in Tehran in 1932. In this edition Minovi gave 
the variants from the two London mss. ; he also translated Dannesteter's 
notes into Persian, and added notes of his own. Among the latter he 
included some verbal communications from Deh Khoda, who in tran- 
scribing the text had become versed in the style and idiom of Ibn Isfan- 

After his edition had been published, Minovi obtained access to 
the ms -original of Iqbal's transcription. This ms. had previously 
belonged to Mu'tasim al-Saltaneh, but by then had passed to its pre- 
sent possessor, Hajji Muhammad Ramadani, owner of the Khavar 
printing-press in Tehran. A comparison of this 10th century ms. 
with its transcription showed that a number of misreadings and copy- 
ing-mistakes had crept into the latter. 

At the same time Minovi was able to examine a ms. of the 11th 
century A.H. (A.H. 1003), belonging to 'Abbas Iqbal. This he found to 
agree fairly closely with the London manuscripts. 

In 1942 Iqbal published in Tehran the major part of the Tarix-i 
Tabaristan, basing the text on the 10th century ms. belonging to Ra- 
madani (which he called A), and giving variant readings from his 
own 11th century ms. (which he called B), and from other manuscripts. 
In his preface he pointed out that, of the numerous mss. of the Tarix-i 
Taharistan known to him, all except A and B are later than the eleventh 
century and derive from a single defective copy. 

The publication of the text of the Tarix-i Taharistan was a major 
undertaking, and a full apparatus of variants was not given through- 
out. It happens that in the case of the Letter of Tansar there are 
occasional divergences between readings given by Iqbal and the inde- 
pendent readings of Minovi; these appear to occur chiefly through 
Iqbal's incorporation, without comment, into his text of more accep- 
table readings from mss. other than A. 

In the academic session 1949-1950 Minovi collaborated with 
W. B. Henning at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, 
to hold a seminar on Persian texts relating to the pre-Islamic period. 
One of the texts then read was the Letter of Tansar, from Minovi's 
own edition with corrections supplied verbally by him from his sub- 
sequent study of ms. A. This seminar the present writer was privileged 
to attend. Professor Minovi had originally planned an English trans- 
lation to accompany his Persian edition; but, on the principle that 

— 25 — 

it is better to translate into rather than out of one's mother-tongue, 
he then suggested that I undertook this instead. A draft of the pre- 
sent translation was accordingly made at that time. 

In the translation which follows the page-numbers of Minovi's 
edition have been set in the margin for ease of reference. In the notes 
Minovi's new readings from ms. A are given, to explain divergences 
between the translation and the printed text.. These will be found to 
coincide generally with Iqbal's readings in his edition of the Tarix-i 
Tabarislan, which are cited only where they differ from Minovi's. 
Many of Dannesteter's original notes, sometimes translated and conden- 
sed, are given over the initial (D.). I have further, with their permission, 
reproduced in my own words some of the observations made during 
the seminar by Professor Henning and Professor Minovi. These are 
marked by the initials (H.). and (M.). Any inaccuracies occurring in 
these notes must be attributed to the present writer; conversely any 
merits which the translation may have are to be ascribed largely to 
these two eminent scholars, with whom, together, it was a rare privi- 
lege to work. The opinions expressed in this introduction about the 
dating of the text are wholly my own, evolved during the intervening 

— 26 — 

— 27 — 



This is the account given by Ibnu-1 MuqaftV on the authority 
of Bahram son of Xorzad, who spoke on the authority of his father 
Manucihr, mobad of Xorasan, and that of learned men of Pars l . 

When Alexander had taken the field in the region of the west and 
the Greek realms 2 (an event too famous to need recounting) and had 
received the submission of Copts and Berbers 3 and Jews, then he led 
his army from there into Iran and joined battle with Darius. A band 
of Darius' own nobles used guile 4 and treachery to behead him and 
brought the head to Alexander, who commanded that those men he 
nailed to trees as targets and used as butts for arrows 5 , this being the 
manner of Greek justice; and he had it proclaimed: " This is the reward 
for him who dares to kill a king " 6 . 

1 This opening statement has a general resemblance to those in the colophons of 
Pahlavi books (See Darmesleter J As., 1894, 190-91). Some sheets are unfortunately missing 
from MS. A of the TarTx-i fabaristan (see Minovi, 2 n. 1; Iqbal, intro., pp. r~ -'<>), which 
included the opening of the Letter. There are no variants in. the other MSS. to show why 
two names (Xorzad and Manucihr) are given for Bahrain's father, see further above, in- 
tro., p. 4, n. I, 

Ibn Isfandiyar appears to use the name Pars for Persia proper, that is, for the modern 
province known now, by the Arabicised form of its ancient name, as Pars. The form 
Pars he seems to use synonymously with the term IranSahr for greater Persia, that is to say, 
for approximately the area forming modern Iran, In this translation Pars is rendered by 
Pars, Fars and IranSahr are both translated as Iran. 

2 For Greece Ibn Isfandiyar regularly uses the word Mm i.e. Rome, since Greece 
became part of the later Eastern Roman Empire. (The word Rum is generally rendered 
in this translation by "Greece", but on page 63 "Rome" i.e. the Roman Empire has 
been kept, as more appropriate). 

i By " Berbers " are to be understood the inhabitants of the districts around modern 
Berbera (see Darmesteter, Etudes iraniemes, II, 221-24). 

4 The word t'abiyat " arranging " is elsewhere used by Ibn Isfandiyar for " cunning, 
stratagem ", e.g. Tarix-i fabaristan 6015 (H.). 

5 This translation is based on a reading by Den Khoda, who emended &» 
'o j£, Jj being Turkish for "gourd". Gourds were used for butts in archery-prac- 
tice, and the word developed the secondary meaning of " butt" in general, see J. A. 
Vullers, Lexicon persico-latinum, -s.v. jLi (M.). 

* This statement belongs to legend, since Alexander meted out no punishment for 
the killing of Darius (see W. W. Tarn, Alexander The Great [Cambridge, 1948] I, 61, 70). 

When the king had seized Iran all the princes and descendants i 
of the nobility and the leaders and rulers and provincial aristocracy 
gathered in his presence. Their splendour and numbers troubled 
him, and he wrote a letter to his minister, Aristotle: 

"By the grace of great and glorious God our fortunes have pro- 
spered thus far. I wish to go to India and China and the farthest East, 
but fear to leave alive these Persian nobles, lest they create troubles 
in my absence which it will be hard to remedy, and come to Greece 
to do harm to our land. It seems prudent to me to destroy them all, 
that I may carry out my purpose with untroubled mind ". 

Aristotle wrote the following answer : 2 

" Truly the peoples of each 3 of the world's climes are distin- 
guished by some excellence, some talent and some dignity which those 
of other climes do not possess. The people of Pars are pre-eminent 
for courage and boldness and skill on the day of battle, qualities which 
form one of the mightiest tools of empire and instruments of power. 
If you destroy them, you will have overthrown one of the greatest 
pillars of excellence in the world. Moreover, when the noble among 
them 4 have gone, you will be forced 5 of necessity to promote the base 
to the same ranks and stations. Be assured that there is no wickedness 
or calamity, no unrest or plague in the world which corrupts so much 
as the ascending of the base to the station of the noble. Beware! turn 
aside the bridle of your intent from this purpose, and in the perfection 
of your understanding sever the tongue of calumny, which is sharper 
and more cruel than the deadly spear; that the rule and religion of 

* Or " survivors ". The Persian is ambiguous. 

2 The defective MS. A begins here, with Arabic words meaning literally; ...the 
base to the high places. Then turn away from this idea. There follow (in Persian) the words: 
The meaning of that is, Truly the peoples ... etc. Evidently in A Aristotle's letter was pre- 
served in Arabic as well as Persian (see Minovi, Tehran ed., p. 2, n. 1). What survives of 
the Arabic shows how greatly Ibn Isfandiyar has inflated his original. Cf. also the parallel, 
but much briefer, account of the conquest of Persia and Aristotle's letter given in the Fars 
Name (ed. G. Le Strange and R. A. Nicholson, Gibb Memorial Series, 57-8), which was 
probably also taken from the Arabic "Letter of Tansar"; see A. Christensen, Acta Orien- 
talia, X (1932), 50-54. 

3 y , not # A. 

4 $±a oif J, a. 

5 A 2nd pers. sg. ,jS. is found fairly frequently in Ibn Isfandiyar's writings (see Minovi, 
P- 49). 


— 28 — 

fair fame be not erased for the sake of tranquillity of mind during 
this brief span of life, which is unsure and lacks both truth and certainty. 
Man is but a tale told after him: be then a sweet tale for him remembering it. 

(3) Were your earthly span to last three hundred years 

Account but as a taie your days unnumbered. 
And since you must become a tale, O wise man, 
Be at the least a good tale, not an ill one. 

You must make the heads of their first families and their men of rank 
and their lords and nobles rely upon your position and patronage, 
your sincerity and bounty; and through favours and kindnesses you 
must banish the causes of vexation and care from their hearts. For 
the ancients have said that no matter of moment will be brought about 
by force and harshness which cannot be accomplished by clemency and 
kindness. The best course is to divide the realm of Iran among their 
princes, and to bestow throne and crown on whomsoever you appoint 1 
to any province; giving none 2 precedence, ascendancy or authority 
over another, that each may be absolute 3 on the throne of his own 
domain. For the title of king is a great pride, and .none wearing a crown 
is ready to pay tribute to another, or to humble himself before any 
man. There will appear among them so much disunity and variance 
and presumption and haughtiness, so much 4 opposition and rivalry, 
about power, so much bragging and vaunting about wealth, so much 
contention over degree, and so much ruffling and wrangling over retai- 
ners, that they will have no leisure to seek vengeance upon you 5 , and 
being occupied one with another will not be free to think upon the past 6 . 
Were you at the farthest bounds of earth each would menace bis fellow ' 
with your dread, invoking your power and support. Thus there would 
be security for you and for those who follow after you, even though 
the world is lacking in security and trust ?> . 

i jS jijb , translated by D. as " tu decouvriras ", means " you shall appoint ". It is 
an idiosyncrasy of Ibn Isf-andiyar's to use o*^ - JjJj and ifij*i «Ij-*j for " appoint" (see 
Minovij citing Deh Khoda, p. 49); cf, the PahJavj legal term paydag kardan " to devise "• 

2 ^ , supplied by M, in his edition, is present in A. 

3 A has Ji- , but M. prefers to read Jf-* (with the British Museum MS.). 

4 -iU". ,jIjl^- A. 

s j» , supplied by M., is present in A. 

6 Cf. the beginning of the PaMavi text Arddy Virdz Ndmag (D.)> 

— 29 — 

When Alexander perceived the tenor of this answer, he i adopted 
the course which Aristotle advised. He divided the land of the Persians (4) 
among their princes, who became known as the " kings of the peoples " 2 ; 
and he led his army away from that clime into the farthest East. In 
pursuit of what had been granted him by the King of all kings he 
subdued mankind and took captive the world. After fourteen years 
he returned, and on reaching the land of Babylon he parted from all 
he had taken, and himself departed this life. 

We look upon the world and it is worth nothing; 
The whole kingdom of earth is worth not one farthing. 

His army, which had been clustered like the Pleiades, became scat- 
tered like the stars of the Bear. He was not yet laid to earth before 
his soldiers sped like the wind to their own lands. Fortune dispersed 
this great assembly and scattered the wealth amassed. Day followed 
night, and the play of vicissitudes continued on. 

Long afterwards Ardaslr son of Papak, son of Sasan, took the 
field. At that time the two Iraqs 3 and the Mahs (Man Nihavand and 
Mah Bastam) and Masabadhan 4 were ruled over by Ardavan, grea- 
test and most powerful of the «' kings of the peoples ". Ardaslr seized 
him together with ninety other descendants of kings enthroned by 
Alexander. Some he put to death by the sword, others through cap- 

Apart from 5 Ardavan, the man of most might and dignity at the 
time was Gusnasp 6 , king of Pariswar 7 and Tabaristan. Since Gusn- 
asp's forbears had retaken the land of Pariswar by force and arms 

i [ljjl] is grammatically necessary before ^j (M,), 

i In the Pahlavi text the Greater BundahiSn, ed. T. D- Anklesaria, p. 214& ff., Ale- 
xander is said to have divided Iran among 90 rulers. Cf. below, where Ardailr the Sasanian 
is said to have seized 90 descendants of these kings (D.). 

y i.e. the Arab Iraq and the Persian Iraq (D.). 

* The name Masabadhan, the Mesobadene of Pliny, appears in the Persian text, by 
analogical corruption, as Mah Sabadhdn. Mah < Mada, i.e. parts of ancient Media (D.). 

5 jl *±g A. 

6 Mas'udi {Kitab ul-Tanbih wa'l-Israj, ed. J. de Goeje99*ff.,300i») gives the king's 
name as Mdh-GuSnasp (see J. Marquart, Erdnsahr, p. 126), 

7 jVj* A (Minovi, p. 51 ; Iqbal gives, without comment, f^r^ ). In the Arabic- 
Persian tradition the name is usually spelt with initial fr-\ but the reading Parifrvdr accords 
with the earliest mention of the name. Strabo gave the name naQa%od&ga? to the moun- 

— 30 — 

from Alexander's lieutenants, and since they had adhered to the faith 
and party of the kings of Pars, Ardaslr treated him with lenience, send- 
ing no army to his land, but showing forbearance and kindness in the 
place of haste, that matters might not come to strife and conflict. When 
it became clear to Gusnasp, king of Tabaristan, that he could not avoid 
submitting and paying fealty, he wrote a letter to Tansar i, chief herbad 
(5) of Ardaslr son of Papak. (Bahrain i Xorzad has said that he was 
called Tansar because 2 all his limbs were covered with such thick, 
long hair that it was as if 3 his whole body [tan] were head [so*]). Tansar 
read the letter of the king of Tabaristan and wrote the answer which 

The chief herbad 4 , Tansar, has received the letter of Gusnasp, 
prince and king of Tabaristan and Pariswar, of Gilan and Delaman 

tain-range extending from Armenia through Media roughly to the Tejend. In Sapur's in- 
scription on- the Ka'ba~yi Zardidl, Parthian version, line 2, these words occur: W fank 
pryS/zwr TWR' m'd wrkn mrgw hryw i.e. " and all the Parisxwar mountain, (namely) Media, 
Hyrcania, Marw and Herat ". The Greek version, line 3, has: SXov to nqeaaovaq <5goc... ". 
The Parthian usage agrees exactly with Sfrabo's of over two centuries earlier; nor do the 
two forms of the word differ greatly, since a different first member of the compound (par if 
para) would preserve an original s variously as s or h. In the eighth cenrury A. C. Theo- 
phanes mentions a <p&a/rowi$edv (presumably io be read ygaoovoQ - lor ParaSwar-) 
as son of king Kobad. Book Pahlavi has the form ptyZxw'rgr (Padisxwargar), which is 
usually analysed to mean the district " around Xwar ", Xwar being a not very important 
place in Tabaristan; but Marquart has suggested that the Pahlavi may be a " translation " 
of the name recorded by Strabo, applied in later times to a more limited area (see his Eran- 
Sahr, p. 130, a. 2). In the present passage, unless Parigwar were used of the greater area, 
it would be redundant. The use of the name PadiSwargar at the beginning of the second " 
chapter of Tarix-i Tabaristan is perplexing; but if the other countries there named are all 
distinct from Padiswargar, PadiSwargar itself may in that place mean only the mountain- 
chain running south-east from Demavand (H.). 

i On Tansar/Tosar see above, iniro., pp. 7-8. Darmesteter tried to justify the 
absurd explanation of the priest's name which follows here by supposing that j-5 was 
originally spelt with taSdid i.e. that it was properly tnrur < *tanu. yarasa "body-hair", 
and in his translation he accordingly rendered the name as Tannasar, This form was adopted 
by Marquart and by West; but rightly rejected by Christensen (Acta Orientalia, X, 47 with 
n. 5) as a vain attempt to justify popular etymology. 

2 jT «?»„■> A (M.); Oil (Iqbal). 

3 The copy of A has a doubtful reading, coujectured by Deh Khoda to be j£Ij£ 
(Minovl, p. 5 ,n. 1). From A itself Minovi now reads Jt , as does Iqbal. AU other MSS. 
have a slightly different set of words, 

4 .jjlj. j,y, a (M.), 

— 31 — 

and Royan ] and Dumbavand. He has read it, and sends his greetings 
and salutations. He has studied each point, good or bad, in the letter, 
and is pleased with it Some things were just, others went astray; but 
he hopes that what is sound will be strengthened and that what is 
unsound will be cured. 

As for this, that you have prayed for me and praised me, happy 
is the man who deserves the praise he gets 2 and happy he whose pray- 
ers are answered. Yet truly men will offer up prayers for you, who 
are a king and a king's son, more than for me 3 , and will wish for your 
advancement as for mine 4 . 

In your letter you said that your father held me, Tansar, in respect 
and esteem, and followed my counsel in affairs of state. He has de- 
parted this life, leaving none behind him closer to him and to his chil- 
dren than myself (may his soul in truth be eternal, and his memory (9 
endure). He showed me honour 5 and respect, esteem and regard 
beyond my deserts and lived tranquilly through following 6 my advice 
and counsel, and that of other true and steadfast ministers. Had your 
father lived to see this day and these events, where you have delayed 
and dalEed he, being well advised, would have led the way, and where 
you have hung back, he would have sprung forward and made haste. 
But since you have come to consult me and honour me by seeking 
my advice, understand that my way of life is known of all men. It 
is not hidden from any, wise or ignorant, men of substance or the po- 
pulace, that for fifty years past I have by austerities induced my carnal 
nature to refrain from the delights of wedded love and passion, from the 
acquisition of wealth and from the company of men. I did not desire 
these things in my heart, nor do I wish ever to desire them. I live as 
a prisoner and captive in this world, that people may recognise my 
equity; and to this end, that when they seek counsel of me concerning 

1 Royan was in ancient times attached, as a separate- district, to the kingdom of Delam, 
and was not incorporated in Tabaristan until the eighth, century A. C. (see Marquart, 
Eransahr, p. 136). Henning points out that Darmesteter's identification of Royan with 
Avestan Raoidhita is not acceptable, since the latter word occurs only once (Yah XIX, 2) as 
an adjectfve for a mountain in a different locality. 

2 Jj <Ji* (supplied in the Tehran ed.) is to be deleted as unnecessary (M.). 

3 Or "more than I do". 
* Or "as I do". 

5 jOi«- jl (not ^ )\) A (M.). 

6 *&_* A (M.). 

— 32 

— 33 — 

probity of life and happiness hereafter and the avoidance of sin, and 
receive guidance from me, they may not suspect my motives, nor think 
that I am busied with cozenage and fraud for worldly ends, nor ima- 
gine any artifice. All this space of time that I have lived withdrawn 
from what is loved of earthly things, and have found my rest in what 
is hated of them, my intent was this, that were I to entreat any man 
to piety and good acts, to virtue and felicity, he should assent, not 
rejecting my counsel with rebellious spirit. So was it that your august 
father, after ninety years of life and kingship in Tabaristan, listened 
to my words with a receptive ear, there being no room for doubt 
within our friendship. 
(7) My purpose in so describing to you my habit and way of life, 

which is not a course and counsel devised by me myself - for what 
audacity that would be in me, to presume to hold unlawful things 
concerning women and wine and pleasure, which our religion holds 
to be lawful! For he who considers the lawful to be unlawful is one 
with him who considers the unlawful to be lawful. No, this rule and 
way of life was received from men who were fathers of the Faith, pos- 
sessed of understanding and vision and certainty, as such-an-one and 
such-an-one, disciples of former leaders and sages of the time of Darius. 
These men saw corruptions and heard uttered the insolence of fools 
and churls; they witnessed the loss and lessening of regard and re- 
verence for the learned by the ignorant, and the vanishing of all sense 
of values and of discrimination J . They saw the customs of men aban- 
doned and the nature of beasts adopted; and for shame, lest they become 
companions and intimates of barbaric men, they carried their griefs 
into the desert, and Seeing from fox-like knavery found peace with 
the panther and wild goat. They wholly abandoned the world and 
cast off its fiercely-tormenting 2 desires, proposing to themselves war 
upon their carnal selves, patience and. the endurance of affliction and 
the drinking of cups of unrequited longing 3, choosing thus to destroy 
the carnal man for the sake of the soul's salvation; even as it is said 
in the Torah: "To flee the fool is to draw near unto God". 

1 -jt^ in the Tehran ed, is a printer's error for :&J (M.). 

2 Note 5 on p. 7 in the Tehran ed. is to be deleted, oly te clear from MS. A (M.). 

3 y** in the Tehran ed. is a printer's error for yJft (M.). 

" Have compassion on two men alone, 

Know none more wretched and hapless than they. 

One the wise man, who knows the good, 

Neglected by the world, helpless in the hands of fools, 

The other the king who through darkened fortune 

Falls from royal power to beggary". 

The king and prince of the world knows that the sages call him a high- 
minded sovereign who pays more heed * to the good of future times (8) 
than to the sorrows of his own, that he may have fair fame in this world 
and the hereafter 2. Thus one of the kings of Iran said to the Xaqan 3 : 
" Today have I taken vengeance of the Turk for a hundred years to 
come ". Every king who abandons the rational laws of rulership for 
the sake of his own immediate pleasure, saying: " the ill effects of this 
act will not appear for another hundred years ; and since I shall not live 
to see that day, I will not neglect 4 my proper satisfaction now ", should 
bethink him always that the lifetime 5 of future generations - even 
though, as he says, they may be his great-grandchildren only - will 
be longer than the days he himself has before him and the length of time 
for pondering more enduring. 

1 have written this much about my own affairs that you may realize 
that anyone who seeks my counsel does me thereby 6 a kindness. If 
my words move him then I rejoice, for this is my one source of joy 
within this world; and no king upon earth nor any man of might can 
do me any other favour or add another joy to this. Do not marvel at 
my zeal and ardour for promoting order in the world, that the founda- 
tions of the laws of the Faith may be made firm. For Church and 
State were born of the one womb, joined together 7 and never to be 

i j&Ij J.f (I j isjf;-) has the idiomatic meaning " to be aware of, consider, care 
for, protect (some thing) ", see Minovi, Tehran ed. p. 53 with citations. 

2 Similar expressions occur in the Avesta, cf. Yasna, 62.6 (D.). 

3 The passage from. " Thus one of the kings of Iran ... " down to " time for pondering 
more enduring " is peculiar to MS. A. The mention in it of Turks is anachronistic, see 
above, intra., pp. 12, 19. 

* The reading of MS. A is f jU£ i) (Minovi). Iqbal gives only f J& . 

5 MS. A has j|jj according to Minovi, jljj according to Iqbal. Minovi suggests 
the emendation ilst-j , upon which the translation given here is based. 

6 u_il^a A. 

* This translation is based on the reading •V-p , found in'all MSS. but A, and printed 

— 34 — 

sundered. Virtue and corruption, health and sickness are of the same 
nature for both. I take more delight in my own understanding and 
judgment and reflective powers than a rich man does in his wealth 
or a father in his children; and my pleasure in the fruits of the intellect 
is greater than pleasure in wine and music * and sports and. pastimes. 
For I have various kinds of pleasure. One is in just conceptions upon 
which I can rely, and of which each day and night I see the fruits, as in 
(9) the emergence of order after depravity and of truth after delusion. A 
second is that the spirits of the virtuous dead rejoice in my understand- 
ing and wisdom and achievements 2 . It is as if I heard their voices ut- 
tering praise, and saw the gladness and radiance of their countenances. 
The third is that I know very soon there will be perfect fellowship bet- 
ween my soul and the souls 3 of my ancestors. When we are united 
we shall speak of what we have done and be glad. So let the king and 
king's son understand that the course which I take with the common 
people is directed by generosity and kindness only. 

As for your especial case, my counsel to you is to take horse and 
come with crown and throne to the king's court. Know and under- 
stand that a crown is what he sets upon your head, and a realm is that 
which he entrusts to you; for you have heard how he has acted towards 
all who have received from him crown and realm. Qabus, king of: 
Kerman 4 , was of their number. He came obedient and submissive 
to do homage to the beneficent threshold, and was permitted to kiss 
the exalted carpet. He resigned crown and throne, whereupon the . 
king said to his priests: ** We had not purposed to bestow the title of 
king upon any man within the land of our fathers. But it has so be- 
fallen that Qabtis has sought refuge with us, and we have made a new 
resolve s . Because of the regard and amity in which we have held 

without comment by Iqbal. MS. A has »■*** (M.). On the meaning of o±-n see Minovi, 
Tehran ed., pp. 53-4. With the whole sentence Minovi compares the Arabic phrase *o»J| 
jUljj -kiUI* "church and state are twins" from the Testament of Ardasir (facsimile ed., 
p. 102; Deh Khoda, Amsai va Hikam, p. 1614). 

i The reading >\$ , suggested in the Tehran ed., is found in A (M.). 

2 This statement concerning the fravasis is strikingly Zoroastrian. 

* At Minovi's suggestion, a variant reading, j-ljj l» \j* j-tj , has been translated in- 
stead of the HjjjI \ rVjjl of A. The variant reading is given in his text without comment 
by Iqbal. 

* On this reference to the king of Kerman, see above, intro., p. II. 
5 jt)j (o*b in the Tehran ed. is a printer's error) (M.). 

— 35 — 

him, we do not desire to deprive him of aught l . To his felicity and 
fair fortune we add the blessing of crown and throne. Moreover if 
any man come submissively before us, seeking to walk upright upon 
the highway of obedience, we shall not deprive him of the title of king 2 . 
No other man, not being of our house, shall be called king, but 3 the 
Lords of the Marches - of Alan and the western region 4 , of Xwarezm 
and Kabul. We shall not make kingship hereditary, as we have made (10) 
other dignities 5 . The princes shall all in turn attend at court but hold 
no office ; for if they seek office, they will begin to quarrel and contend 
and wrangle among themselves, and so lose their dignity and become 
contemptible in the common sight. What say you in this matter? 
If this course is acceptable, pray approve it. If not, make known what 
should be done ". Since introduction and conclusion of this propo- 
sition were linked by what was salutary and satisfactory, it was approved, 
and Qabus was dismissed. I have said this much, because your royal 
self sought to have your proper course made swiftly known. You 
must hasten your decision, without deliberation, and come speedily 
to do homage, lest it end in your being sought out and disgrace ac- 
cruing, and your children becoming despised, and yourself visited by 
.the wrath of the King of kings; and lest the hope we have in you today, 

t «-b J »T in p. 9, 1. 13 of the Tehran ed. yields no sense;, and has been omitted in trans- 
lation. Henning suggests that it may have been borrowed, by a copyist's error, from p. 9, 
1. 15. In this case the mistake must be an old one, since it is found in A and generally. 

2 " Le Roi des Rois {SahanSSK) laisse !e titre de Roi (fah) aux chefs des dynasties 
locales existantes qui le reconnaissent. On trouvera dans Ibn Khurdadhbih la lisie com- 
plete des princes auxquels Ardasir laissa le titre de Sah. Dans le nombre se irouve le litre 
de Kirman-sah " (D.). The vassal-kings of the Sasanians are discussed by A. Christen- 
sen, L" Empire des Sassanides, pp. 21-23; L'Iran sous les Sassanides, 2nd ed., 1944, pp. 

3 IjwL* jl A, with additional Sj (M.). 

* Ara biased in the MSS. as Allan, with rasdid. Christensen (JJ Empire, p. 1 12; L'Iran 
p. 371 with n. 6) identifies this area with the " marche aiano-khaiare " and compares a 
passage from the Nihayatu-l Irab (see E. G- Browne, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 
1900, p, 22?) where Xosrau I is said to have accorded certain privileges to a newly-appointed 
tnarzban in Armenia; see further G. Widen gren " Xosrau Anosurvan, les Hephialites el 
les peoples tares", Orientalia Suecana, 1, 1952, pp. 92-3. Marquart in discussing this pas- 
sage {Eransahr, pp. 47-8 and p. 48, n. 1) does not distinguish between hereditary kingships 
and the marcher-lordships. 

5 ' II s'agit sans doute des princes de la famille du Roi des Rois, non des dynasties 
locales '. (IX). In Nihayatu-l Irab (see loc. cit.) the descendants of the marzban appointed 
by Xosrau in Armenia are said to have kept ' ' till today ", the title of " king of the throne ". 

— 36 — 

we cannot have tomorrow, and lest you leave the place of willing obe- 
dience for that of enforced submission. 

Now ! as for the questions which you put concerning the decrees 
of the King of kings: some, you said, are not displeasing, but others, 
you asserted, cannot be justified. My answer is this: you wrote that 
' ' although the king seeks the truth of the ancients, yet he may be accused 
of forsaking tradition 2 ; and right though this may be for the world, 
it is not good for the Faith ". But you must realize that there are two 
traditions, the tradition of the ancients and that of the moderns $. The 
tradition of the ancients was equity; but the path of equity has been 
so far obliterated that, if in this age you summon a man to equity 4 , 
his ignorance makes him marvel and hold it impossible. The tradition 
of the modems is violence. Men have been so accustomed to tyranny 
(li) that they cannot find a way from the injury of tyranny to the benefit 
of superior equity, and to the altering of it; so that were the moderns 
to introduce equity, it would be said: "It is not fit for these times", 
and for this reason the memory and imprints of equity have vanished. 
If on the other hand the King of kings annuls some tyranny of the men 
of old which is not well for this age and time, then is it said: "This 
is the custom of yore and usage of the ancients ". You must recognize 
the truth that one must strive to alter the effects of injustice whether 
of the ancients or the moderns - it being a principle that injustice 
is not to be lauded, whatever the period, ancient or modern, in which 
it was or is being perpetrated. The present King of kings is empowered 
to do this and to change and erase the effects of tyranny 5 , and the 
Faith is his ally; for we see that he is more richly endowed with virtues 
than the ancients and that his custom is better than the customs of 

* The main part of the letter proper begins here. 

2 This translation is Minovi's, who takes Cr^ —&h to mean " to accuse of aban- 
doning "; Henning understands the phrase to mean rather " to abandon ". 

3 " La loi dans sa p arete" primitive et la loi des temps presents, ce que l'Avesta appelle 
paairyo tkaiso et aparo tkaiso {Zend-Avesta, III, p. xxix, et p. 197, n. ad 711). L'aparo 
tkaeso est la loi de fait da jour, telle que i'ont faite Poubli et la corruption de I'ancienne loi 
et les necessites his toriq lies" (D.). 

4 Jo* I is here equivalent to Jj» * , and not to J*k (M.)- 

5 The j»fc supplied here in the Tehran ed. is to be cut out. Minovi now regards 
the construction (with Ja3_» governing both j\ j, and j& j, etc.) as clumsy but adequate. 

— 37 — 

If your concern is for religious matters, and you deny that any 
justification is found in religion, know that Alexander burnt the book 
of our religion - 1200 ox-hides - at Istaxr 1 . One third of it was known 
by heart and survived, but even that was all legends and traditions, 
and men -knew not the laws and ordinances; until, through the corrup- 
tion of the people of the day and the decay of royal power and the cra- 
ving for what was new and counterfeit and the desire for vainglory, 
even those legends and traditions dropped out of common recollection, 
so that not an iota of the truth of that book remained. Therefore the 
faith must needs be restored by a man of true and upright judgment 2 . 
Yet have you heard tell of, or seen, any monarch save the King of 
kings, who has taken this task upon him? With the vanishing of reli- 
gion you have lost also the knowledge of genealogies and histories (12) 
and lives of great men, which you have let pass from memory. Some 
of it you have recorded 3 in books, some upon stones and walls, until 
none of you remembers what happened in the days of his father. How 
then can you recall the affairs of the people at large and the lives of 
kings and above all the knowledge of religion, which ends only with 
the end of the world? In the beginning of time men enjoyed per- 
fect understanding of the knowledge of religion and sure steadfastness 4 . 
Yet it is not to be doubted that even then, through new happenings 
in their midst, they had need of a ruler of understanding; for till reli- 
gion is interpreted by understanding it has no firm foundation. 

Next, you wrote that " the King of kings demands of men earnings 
and work " 3 . Know that according to our religion men are divided 

1 The jl supplied before i->W in the Tehran ed. is to be cut out as unnecessary; on 
the other hand, the word ju , supplied there, is present in MS, A (M.). On the Pahlavl 
tradition concerning the transmission and burning of the Avesta see H, W, Bailey, Zoroa- 
strkm Problems in the Ninth-Century Books (Oxford, 1943), p. 149 ff, ; Minovi, Tehran ed,, 
pp. 54-5, cites further passages from Arabic and Persian books in which this tradition is 

2 As Darmesteter dryly points out, given all this loss, it would have been less a que- 
stion of restoring than of recreating the faith. Tansar plainly exaggerates grossly, both 
to emphasize the magnitude of Ardaglr's task, and to stress the freedom of action to which 
he was entitled. There are no doubt also enlargements by Ibn Isfandiyar. 

3 jl-jjJ A; Ji-jy (Tehran ed.) is a misprint (M.). 

4 The j supplied in the Tehran ed. after cM is to be omitted (M,). 

5 The reading of the word here translated as "work" is doubtful; see Tehran ed., 
p. 12, n. 5. 

— 38 — 

into four estates. This is set down in many places in the holy books 
and established beyond controversy and interpretation, contradiction 
and speculation. They are known as the four estates, and at their head 
is the king i. The first estate is that of the clergy; and this estate is 
further divided among judges and priests, ascetics, temple-guardians 
and teachers. The second estate is that of the military, that is to say 
of the fighting-men, of whom there are two groups, cavalry and foot- 
soldiers. Within them there are differences of rank and function. The 
third estate is that of the scribes, and they too are divided into groups 
and categories, such as writers of official communications, accountants, 
recorders of verdicts and registrations and covenants, and writers of 
chronicles; physicians, poets and astronomers are numbered among 
their ranks. The fourth estate is known as that of the artisans, and com- 
prises tillers of land and herders of cattle and merchants and others 
who earn their living by trade. It is through these four estates that 
(13) humanity will prosper as long as it endures. Assuredly there shall 
be no passing from one to another unless in the character of one of 
us outstanding capacity is found 2 . His case shall be laid before the 
King of kings; and after he has been examined by the mobads and 

i For four (rather than three) estates see Christensen's note on this passage in his 
L'Iran, p. 98, n. 3. The account of the estates given in the Testament of Ardasir is similar 
but not so detailed. Darmesteter cites the Pazand text, Skand-gumdnig Vizar, Ch. I, 17, 
where the king is set at the head of four estates, as here. 

There seems to be some precision in the account of the estates given in the Letter. 
Thus the judicial function did belong to the clergy (see Darmesteter, Zend-Avesta, I, p. 30; 
Christensen, L'Iran, p. 120). In the MSS. of the Letter available to Darmesteter, four di- 
visions Only of the priestly eslaie are given ; *IX^ and >^»j, 4-u. and .jL-lL. . These Darme- 
steter sought to equate, in that order, with the four lower divisions of the Zoroastrian sa- 
cerdotal hierarchy as given in the Pahlavi Yasna, namely daiwar, magupat, rat and magu- 
andarzpat. The meanings of the titles in the two lists were in fair conformity, especially in 
the cases of (he first and last members. In A, however, a fifth title, -»L1* , is introduced bet- 
ween (■££> and oL!»j , and the equation is thereby spoilt. The list in the Yasna is in any 
case a formalized one, designed for artificial synchronisation with territorial titles; and 
has at least one notable 'omission (i.e. the title herbad). It is probably best, therefore, to 
recognize only a general relationship between the two lists. 

a The reading xAj is supported by MS. A (M.). Minovi (Tehran ed. pp. 56-7) gives 
in contrast a passage from the Testament of Ardasir in which ArdaSJr is represented as 
warning his successors against allowing any transference from one estate to another. Mi- 
novi also cites the story of Xosrau I and the shoemaker who sought unsuccessfully to have 
his son become a scribe (Sdhname, Tehran ed., VIII, pp. 2545-8; the story is given by 
Christensen, L'Iran, pp. 319-20). 


— 39 — 

herbads and they have tested him at length to see if they think him 
worthy, he shall be attached to a different group. 

When however men fell upon evil days, under a reign that did 
not hold fast the welfare of the world, they fixed their desires upon 
what was -not justly theirs; and destroying decency and neglecting the 
law, they cast away discretion and entered rashly upon ways which 
led no man knew where. Violence became open and men assailed 
one another over variance of rank and opinion, till livelihood and faith 
were lost to all, and those shaped like men took on the character of 
demons and the nature of beasts, even as it is said in the noble Qur'an 
{glorious is He who spoke it): " Devils of men and jinns; some of them 
inspire others with specious speech to lead astray " 1 . The veil of modesty 
and decency was lifted, and a people appeared not enhanced by noble- 
ness or skill or achievement nor possessed of ancestral lands; indiffe- 
rent to personal worth and lineage and also to craft and calling; lack- 
ing all discretion, ignorant of any trade, fit only to play the part of 
informers and evil-doers, with uttering of lies and calumnies. By 
these means they gained a livelihood and reached the pinnacle of pro- 
sperity and amassed fortunes. The King of kings through his pure 
intelligence and surpassing excellence caused these four estates, which 
had fallen away, to be restored, and brought back each to its own 
place and point of departure. He kept each man in his own station 2 , 
and forbade any to meddle with a calling other than that for which it (14) 
had pleased God (great is His glory) to create him. By his hand divine 
providence has opened for humanity a door unknown to men in ancient 
days. He laid commands moreover on the heads of the four estates 
that should they find in one of the men of trades and crafts the imprint 
of truth and goodness together with devout faith, or should they find 
a man endowed with strength and might and courage, or possessed 
of learning and memory and intelligence and merit, then they should 
bring the matter before him that he might decide the case. 

As for what you regard of moment concerning the punishments 
of the King of kings, and the excessive bloodshed which he orders 
among those acting against his judgment and decree, know that the 

i Qur'an, VI, 112 (E. H. Palmer's translation). 

2 as j*. is to be read, not (as in the Tehran ed.) j\ *J^j (M.). 

— 40 — 

ancients refrained from this because the people were not given to dis- 
obedience and breach of good order. All were concerned with their 
means of livelihood and their own affairs, and did not constrain kings 
to this by evil devices and acts of rebellion. When corruption became 
rife and men ceased to submit to Religion, Reason and the State, and 
all sense of values disappeared, it was only through bloodshed that 
honour could be restored to such a realm. Have you not heard what 
a man of probity said during such an epoch ? " We did not know,i 
and until now we had not heard, that chastity and modesty and content- 
ment, the observance of friendship, true judgment and the maintenance 
of blood-ties, all depend upon freedom from greed. When greed be- 
came manifest in this epoch, good order departed from among us. 
(15) Our close companion became 2 a foe; he who was our follower thought 
to be followed and he who was servant thought to be served. The po- 
pulace, like demons set at large, abandoned their tasks and were scatter- 
ed through the cities in theft and riot, roguery and evil pursuits, until 
it came to this* that slaves ruffled it over their masters and wives laid 
commands upon their husbands ". And he enumerated such things, 
and finally said: And there is no kinship and no friendship, no counsel 
and no law and no good order. 

For you must know that the commands given by the King of kings 
for occupying people with their own tasks and restraining them from 
those of others are for the stability of the world and order in the affairs 
of men. Punishment and bloodshed among people of this kind, even 
if of a prodigality that seems to have no bound, is recognized by us 
as life and health, like the rain which quickens the earth and the sun 
which gives it help and the wind which increases its spirit 3 . For in . 
days to come the foundations of State and Religion will be in every 
way strengthened through this; and the more the punishment he in- 

i Darmesteter regarded these ciled words, and the reflections which follow them, 
as an interpolation by Ibnu'l Muflaffa'; but although, the use of quotation instead of direct 
speech is a departure from Tansar's usuaL manner, the tenor of the passage accords well 
with a Sasanian origin. The attribution of all evil to Greed (Middle Persian Az) is charac- 
teristically Manichaeanj to deplore excess is characteristically Zoroastrian. The passage 
is therefore probably to be regarded as part of the 6th~century redaction. 

2 The variant reading -*>-»i (given in the Tehran ed.) is to be rejected. Both A and B 
have •>£ (M,). 

3 This is a sentence which reads like a direct translation from Pahlavi. 

— 41 — 

flicts to make each estate return to its own sphere l , the more the praise 

he will receive. 

And with all which he has done, he has. set a chief 2 over each, 
and after the chief an intendant to number them, and after him a trusty 
inspector .to investigate their revenues 3, and then a teacher to instruct 
each man from childhood in his trade and calling, that they may rest 
content in the enjoyment of their own livelihoods. And he has appointed 
teachers and judges and priests who devote themselves to preaching 
and teaching. He has also ordered the instructor of the chivalry 4 to 
keep the fighting-men in town and countryside practised in the use (16) 
of arms and all kindred arts, that all people of the realm may set about 
their own tasks. For the sages of old have said: An idle heart seeks 
mischief and an empty hand stretches out after evil 5. The meaning 
is that the heart of a workless idler is ever seeking illusions and pur- 
suing empty rumours, and from that trouble is born; and a hand wi- 
thout a task grasps at what is sinful 6 . 

You declared: ** There is much talk about the blood shed by the 
king and people are dismayed ". The answer is that there are many 
kings who have put few to death, yet have Slain immoderately if they 
have killed but ten; and there are many who if they put men' to death 
in their thousands should slay still more, being driven to it at that time 
by their people. Moreover many a man is pardoned by the King of 

i MS. A has £j- \ , with \ in the meaning of + (M.); Iqbal prints fj* . Darmesteter 
suggests that this sentence, and what follows, may have been misplaced, since it accords 
better with the section on estates than with that on punishments. A slightly disjointed 
treatment of a theme is not, however, uncommon in, e.g., Pahlavi handarz literature. Mi- 
novi, Tehran ed., p. 57, gives a passage from the Testament of Ardasir in which there is 
a similarly swift transition from a discussion of Ihe estates to an exhortation to ruthlessness 
in the general interest. 

z For the Sasanian chiefs of the four estates, mobadan-mobad, iran-spdhbad, eratt- 
dabirbad and vaitryosan-sSlar, see Christensen, L'Iran, index, s.v. 

3 Minovi prefers the variant MS. reading J=^> to the J*» of MS. A. 

4 Pahlavi andarzbad i aspwaragan, Arabic rmi'addibal-asavim, see Zend-Avesta I 3 1 (D-). 
s This saying is among others attributed to Yazdigird I, see the British Museum MS- 

Or, 27774, fol. 230 a (M.). For the sentiment one may compare the Testament of Ardasir: 
" And know that the failure of previous governments started with leaving the people free not 
to practice the known professions and known occupations. So, when idleness spread, it 
engendered curiosity and criticism" (facsimile ed., p. 10S; Deh Khoda, Amsal vaHikam, 
pp. 1615-16). 

« All MSS. have U w . The reading l»»jj , given in the Tehran ed.. is an emendation 
by Minovi, based on the Arabic. It has been adopted without comment by Iqbal. 

— 42 — 

kings who merits death. The king is far more merciful and mild than 
Bahman son of Isfandiyar, over whose gentleness bygone peoples have 
agreed. I tell you that the rarity of punishment and slaughter in those 
days, and their frequency in these, lies at the door of the people and 
not at that of the king. Punishments, you must know, are for three 
kinds of transgressions: first that of the creature against his Lord (glo- 
rious is His name) when he turns from the faith and introduces a heresy 
into religion; another that of the subject against the king when he re- 
bels or practises treachery or duplicity; another between fellow-men 
when they act unjustly one to another. For each of these three the 
(17) King of kings has established a law far better than that of the ancients. 
For in former days any man who turned from the faith was swiftly 
and speedily put to death and punished. The King of kings has ordered 
that such a man should be imprisoned, and that for the space of a year 
learned men should summon him at frequent intervals and advise him 
and lay arguments l before him and destroy his doubts. If he become 
penitent and contrite and seek pardon of God, he is set free. If ob- 
stinacy and pride hold him back, then is he put to death 2 . Secondly, 
there used to be no pardon for any who rebelled against a king or fled 
from the army in the field. The King of kings has established a law 
whereby some among them are put to death, to inspire terror and be 
an example to others, and some are left alive, to hope for pardon and 
stand between expectancy and dread. This is a most comprehensive 
measure for good government. Thirdly, it was formerly the custom 
that a man who gave a blow received one, and a man who inflicted a 
wound suffered one, and the brigand and the thief were both muti- 
lated 3 , and the adulterer likewise. He has laid down a law whereby '■ 
for a wound there is a fixed fine in proportion to it 4 , so that the wrong- 
doer may suffer from that and the victim receive benefit and comfort. 
It is not now as when they cut off a thief's hand, benefiting none and 
causing great loss among the people. Four times as much is exacted 
in recompense from the brigand as it is from the thief; and the 

J cc*lj; (Tehran ed.) is to be omitted after J"*l . It is not in any good MS. (M.). 

2 As Darmestetcr observes, this seems to be the earliest record of an Inquisition. 

3 The brigand takes by force, the thief stealthily. This is the difference between Ave- 
stan hazayha and lay us, cf. Yasna 12. 2 (D-). 

4 The words inserted in the Tehran edition are to be cut out, and the reading of A 
is to be followed (given there, p. 17, n. 7) (M.). 

— 43 — 

adulterer has his nose cut off. No member is severed whereby capa- 
city would be diminished. Thus they are shamed and disgraced, but 
yet no loss befalls their work and activity i. These statutes he had (18) 
written in the book of laws 2 ; and thereafter he said 3 : "Know that 
we found. men divided into three groups, and have contented ourselves 
with three policies towards them. One group among them, which is 
small,, consists of a choice few, the virtuous; our policy towards them 
is pure kindliness. The second group consists of evil-doers and scoun- 
drels and the seditious; towards them our policy is unmixed terror. 
The third group, which is numerous, consists of the various throng, 
towards whom our policy is a blending of favour and fear, neither such 
security as to make them overbold nor such dread as to make them 
flee away. Sometimes one should exact death for a transgression which 
merits and deserves pardon, and sometimes pardon a transgression 
which demands death 4 . Since we have seen that by the laws and'cus- 
toms of the ancients the injured received no benefit, but society suf- 
fered a mischief and loss in numbers and vigour, we have established 
this law and custom that people may act upon it in our own day and 
hereafter; and we have ordered the judges that if offenders of this 
kind, whose fines are fixed, repeat their offences a second time, their 
ears and noses are to be cut off, but no injury done to any other 
limb ". 

As for another passage, in which you wrote of the affairs of great 
families and of degree and rank, saying: " The King of kings has had 
established new customs and new ways; but family and rank are as 
corner-piers and struts and foundations and pillars. When the foun- 
dation perishes the house decays, is ruined and collapses", know that 
the decay of family and rank is twofold in nature. In the one case 

» The translation is of the reading of B and the majority" of MSS. (given in the Tehran 
ed., p. 18, n. 1), which Minovi prefers to that of A (given in his text). 

2 This is a translation of the variant o^- *-»^ , preferred by Minovi to the ^o 
i^— s of A. 

3 *sjf (not in A) is present in at least three other MSS. (M.). It is given without 
comment by Iqbal. 

4 In the Testament ofArdasir the King says that it is necessary " for us to tie the door 
of harshness to the door of mercy, and the door of killing to that of sparing " (facsimile, 
p. 107; Amsal va Hikam, p. 1615); but there is no advocacy there of such arbitrary despotism 
as is here recommended as salutary. 

— 44 — 

(19) men pull down the family and allow rank to be unjustly lowered; in 
the other it is time itself without another's endeavour which deprives 
them of honour and worth and the splendour of position. Degenerate 
heirs appear, who adopt boorish ways and forsake noble manners 
and lose their dignity in the sight of the people. They busy themselves 
like tradesmen with the earning of money, and neglect to garner fair 
fame. They marry among the vulgar and those who are not their 
peers, and from that birth and begetting men of low character appear; 
and this is what is meant by " decadence of rank ". The King of kings 
has issued a decree to exalt and ennoble their rank, whose like we have 
not heard from any man. By it he has established a visible and general 
distinction between men of noble birth and common people with re- 
gard to horses and clothes, houses and gardens, women and servants. 
Furthermore he has set differences among the nobles themselves with 
regard to entrance- and drinking-places, sitting- and standing-places V 
clothes, ornaments and houses, according to the dignity of each man's 
rank; that they may look after their own households and know the 
privileges and places appropriate to themselves. So no commoner 
may share sources of enjoyment of life with the nobles, and alliance 
and marriage between the two groups is forbidden. He has said: " I 
knew it to be shame and disgrace 2 that such-an-one among our ance- 
stors had a box for mother. I forbid any man of birth 3 to seek a wife 
among common people, that rank may remain distinct. And whoever 
does so, I make it unlawful for him to inherit. And I forbid common 
people to buy the house-property and estates 4 of nobles ". And he 

(20) was zealous in this matter, that rank and station might remain fixed 
for each man and might be registered in books and archives. 

The story of the box: is this. Long ago there was a great king who 
became wrath with his women and said: "I shall show you that I 

1 These four words are ambiguous, since they may refer either to buildings (entrance- 
halls, banqueting-rooms etc.) or to places assigned Lo nobles at court. >-S>» is usually 
used in the latter sense (M.). 

2 This translation is based on an emendation of the reading of A, J^« , to <sJ-i*» 
suggested by Henning; Minovi considers the text at this point too corrupt to admit of satis- 
factory emendation. Iqbal prints, without any comment: ts~- ^ «l»j «Jji*j [jj £\. 

3 ,j\j pa j. means ' noble, a man of rank ' (Minovi, who cites, p. 58, a proverb 
from Deh Khoda's Amsal va ffikam: «>l J fjj* « 3#. ^j* ). 

4 ii%)i J^_ MS. A (M.); Iqbal does not print the s . 

— 45 — 

have no need of you *'. He demanded a box into which he cast his 
seed. One of the women took the seed to herself and a child was bora. 
It was declared that its mother was a queen and its father a box l . In 
the Bible of the Jews and the Gospel of the Christians it is said that 
in the time of Noah (upon him be peace!) men multiplied and not a 
span of earth was untilled 2 . The sons of gods mingled with the dau- 
ghters of the sons of Adam (upon him be peace!) and giants were born 
of them, till God (glorious is His name!) caused the Flood as means 
of their destruction. 

Thus in his solicitude for maintenance of rank the King of kings 
has reached a point beyond which 3 one can conceive no advance. He 
has declared that any man after him who transgresses this law will 
merit degradation of rank and execution, confiscation of property 
and exile from his native land. He has said: "This matter have I 
written down for the sake of kings hereafter, who may perchance lack 
power to keep religion strong. They may read in my book and act 
thereon '*. Rest assured that the king is the symbol of order between 
peasant and knight. He is our delight on the day of delight, our shelter, 
refuge and retreat on the day of terror from the foe 4 . Thus has he 
said: " Cities and treasures you guard from disaster, and tongues from 
doubtful utterance 5 . Nothing needs such guarding as degree among 
men". And he has said: " My charge to those who come after me is 

1 " On ne voit pas clairement Ie rapport de cette histoire bizarre avec le d<jveIoppement 
il'appul duquel die est donnee ... L'histoire en elle-meme rentre dans un ensemble de con- 
ies representes surtout dans 1'Inde (Vasistha, con?u de Mitra-Varuna dans le kumbha, 
d'apres le Rig Veda; Agastya dit kumbha-sambhava. Variante attenuee: fra$ax$ti Xum- 
bya, 61eve dans la cruche, Bundahisn, 29, 5; origine des Afghans Karlanai, Kilidi Afghani, 
185) " (D.). See further his Zend-Avesta II 551, n. 293. The whole, of this paragraph 
was probably added at the time of the 6th-century redaction. 

2 Nothing is said in Genesis VI of the tilling of earth. It seems likely that Ibis detail 
has been transferred to the Jewish tradition from the Zoroastrian legend of YLma (Jamsid) (H). 

3 A has the obscure reading J ishi J 3 £ , which in the copy appears as c;'jj ^i " 
<jf (see Tehran ed., p. 20, n. 4) (M.). Iqbal gives without comment the variant reading 
(jT ((Ijj & , which is the one translated here. 

« Christensen (I/Iran, p. 364) points out the appropriateness of this sentiment to 
the reign of a king as powerful as Xosrau ; but Aidaslr was also an iron ruler. What follows, 
from Thus has he said to the end of the paragraph, is lacking in the MSS. available to Dar- ■ 
mesteter, but is present in both A and B. 

s The words " doubtful utterance " translate c-j , suggested by Minovi as a pos- 
sible emendation of >=«W , for which there are no variants. 

— 46 — 

this : entrust your servings and dealings to the intelligent, trivial though 
(21) the tasks may be. If it is but the wielding of a broom or the sprinkling 
of a road with water i, assign it to the most intelligent of those who 
do such things. For advantage is with intelligence, hurt and misery 
with ignorance. The intelligent have said: " The ignorant man sees 
asquint. The crooked he beholds as straight, and thinks the broken, 
whole.. He regards a great thing as small and accounts a small one 
great. Because of the shapes cast by ignorance he can see neither be- 
fore nor after. He understands matters only at the end, after he has 
brought them to a confusion that cannot be remedied. The ignorant 
man cannot perceive a gradually-increasing harm, till it reaches a stage 2 
when knowledge cannot retrieve it ". 

As for what you wrote: " I have held nothing to be of more mo- 
ment in matters of religion that to esteem the law of proxy and esta- 
blish it firmly. The King of kings has neglected its observance", know 
that the King of kings found the laws of religion corrupt and confused, 
and heresy and innovations rife. He has set observers over the people, 
that when a man dies, leaving property, they may tell the priests, who 
divide that property among the heirs and descendants according to 
custom and to his will. If a man have no property, they see to his 
burial and his children. The king has however enjoined that offspring 
of the proxies of princes or nobles themselves rank as princes or nobles. 
In this there is no refutation or rejection either of religious law or of 

This is the meaning of the expression " proxy " in their religion 3 ; 
when death came upon ^ a man who had no son 5, his wife, if he left 
one, was given in marriage to the one among the dead man's relatives " 
who was chief and closest to him. If there were no wife, but a daughter, 

i MS. A has 1j , i.e. jij V I b »\j (M.). 

1 MS, A has *j*< tAsj- I" (M,); Iqbal prints *>i uW ^ without comment. 

5 Darmesteter points out that the Pahlavi Rivayat corroborate the explanation of this 
Zoroastrian custom given here. He cites E. W. West, Sacred Books of the East, V, p. 143 n., 
and his own edition of the Zend-Avesta, III, p. 174 with n. 11. He also thanks S. Levi for 
drawing his attention to the almost identical passage in Al-Biruni's India, taken from "The 
book of Tosar" (see E. C. Sachau's edition, p. 53, translation, I, p. 109; imro., above, p. 
3). The Pahlavi word rendered as " proxy " is stur. 

* MS. A has cfA-o jl> (M.). Iqbal prints tf-u-j 1/ . 

s The original Arabic presumably had J* l; son"; this is the word used by Al~ 
Birunl. Ibn Isfandiyar uses Persian JJj_> "child" (M.). 

— 47 — 

the same was done. If there were neither of these two, they would (22) 
provide for a woman from the dead man's property and give her to 
his nearest kinsman. And every son who was born they assigned to 
the man who had left the legacy. Anyone who approved the contrary 
of this custom had in fact slain innumerable souls, since he had cut 
off the dead man's race and memory to the end of time 1 . It is likewise 
in the Bible of the Jews, that a brother should marry his dead brother's 
wife and preserve the brother's race 2 . The Christians forbid this. 

Next for what you said, that the King of kings has taken away 
fires from the fire-temples 3 , extinguished them and blotted them out, 
and that no one has ever before presumed so far against religion; know 
that the case is not so grievous, but has been wrongly reported to you. 
The truth is that after Darius each of the " kings of the peoples " built 
his own fire-temple. This was pure innovation, introduced by them 
without the authority of kings of old. The King of kings has razed 
the temples, and confiscated the endowments, and had the fires carried 
back to their places of origin 4 . 

You stated next that' elephants were kept at the court of the King 
of kings and that he had had " cows '* and " donkeys " and '* trees ** 
constructed. All that you described has been done by him at religion's 
call, so that any man practising sorcery or highway-robbery, or inter- 
preting the faith in ways unsanctioned by the holy law, may have his 
due. Though he himself had found the path to all pertaining to 5 
benevolence and gentleness and leniency, and had practised it, yet 

1 The sentence beginning Anyone who ... has been translated from Al-BirunTs quo- 
tation from "The book of Tosar" (ioc. cit.), since Ibn Mandiyar evidently mistook the 
Arabic here. His version runs: Anyone who had approved the contrary of this, they killed. 
They used to say that the race of that man must remain till the end of time. This contains 
an inherent absurdity; see Minovi, p. 59. 

* i.e. the custom of the Levirate (D.). 

3 MS. A has •ad;l in the singular (M.), The word is given in the plural by Iqbal, 
On this paragraph see above, intro., pp. 16-17. 

* The last senteDce of this paragraph, together with the whole of the two following 
paragraphs, is peculiar to MSS. A and B, The reading V^ (rendered here as ' endowments ') 
is clear in both MSS, , and is accepted by Minovi; Iqbal (p. 25, n. 1) suggests the emendation 
U>t . As Darmesteter points out, the unity of the Persian empire, for which Ardaslr was 
striving, required that there should be only one royal fire. 

* Instead of i=-ij J&& of the copy (as in the Tehran ed.), A has <s-il» jl*» ; Iqbal 
prints without comment is**!* ,£-» , an emendation approved by Minovi. 

— 48 — 

he knew that he could break in the stubborn and make them obedient 
only by stem exercises; and that a plaster is not useful and beneficial 
( 23 ) for deep wounds l , which must be lanced or cauterised. We know 
that many gallant men have sought such a man for the world's well- 
being, and found him not 2 . Not every man can do such cures, by reason 
of his own weakness - being like a compassionate mother, who seeks 
a physician for a child beloved of her heart and entwined within her 
life. When she sees how he orders bitter medicines and burning cau- 
teries and cruel incisions, her heart through weakness and lack of reso- 
lution is filled with turmoil and anguish and grief. But by ail that the 
child is cured of sicknesses and brought to health, and comfort and 
peace come to the weak mother's breast, and she blesses and praises 
that physician for the safety of her child. 

Elucidation 3 : ** elephant " refers to his ordering that highway- 
Tobbers and heretics be cast beneath an elephant's feet. The ' cow " 
was a cauldron made in the shape of a cow. Lead was melted in it 
and a man cast into it. A " donkey " was of iron with three legs 4 . 
Several were kept hanging from it by the feet until they died. And 
the " tree " was put up for crucifixion. This punishment was kept 
for sorcerers and highway-robbers. 

Next for what you said, that the King of kings has forbidden 
people too lavish a way of life and too ample an expenditure. This 
he has made a binding law, his purpose being to make clear the divi- 
sions and distinctions among the people, that the appurtenances pro- 
per to each class may be plainly seen. The nobles 5 are distinguished 
from the artisans and tradespeople by their dress and horses and trap- 
pings of pomp, and their women likewise by silken garments ; also by 
their lofty dwellings, their trousers, headgear, hunting and whatever 
else is customary for the noble. As for the soldiers or fighting-men, 

i Vj p L «^lj=r A (as conjectured by Minovi, see Tehran ed, p. 22, □. 8; the copy has 

2 In A the verb has no pointing. Minovi now prefers to read xSU instead of -ciU 
(the reading of the Tehran edition and Iqbal). 

3 MS. A has the word *JS (M.). 

4 The giving of the name "donkey" to a three-legged instrument of torture may 
have been inspired by the existence in Zoroastrian myth of a three-legged donkey (see the 
Greater Bundahisn, ed. T. D. Anklesaria, p. 153 II. 2-3) (H.). 

s i_»!j£! is to oe read, not lj»^l . The b does not appear in any MS. (M.). 

— 49 — 

he has conferred positions of honour and favours of all kinds upon (24) 
that group, because they are ever sacrificing their own lives and posses- 
sions and followers for the welfare of those who labour, devoting them- 
selves to combat with the country's foes, while the common people 
sit at ease among their wives and children, enjoying repose and tran- 
quillity, safe and secure in their own houses and in pursuit of their own 
livelihoods, It is fitting that the working people should salute them 
and bow before them, and that the fighting men in turn should show 
reverence to the nobles, and that they too should have regard one for 
another according to ] the loftiness of their rank, and that they should 
maintain their dignity. For 2 if it is allowed men to act under the sway 
of their own wishes and desires, their wishes and desires 3 have no ap- 
parent term or limit. They seek after things for which their means 
do not suffice and soon become poor and needy. When the people have 
become poor, the royal treasury remains empty, the soldier receives 
no pay and the kingdom is lost. He has restrained the princes from 
squandering wealth and behaving rashly, lest they become dependent 
on the working people; and has so allotted their manner of life, that 
if one have a thousand treasure-houses and another a pittance, both 
live according to the law *. For those who 5 were the most virtuous 
and pious, he chose out princesses, that all might desire virtue and cha- 
stity. He was content with one or two wives for himself, and disapproved 
of having many children, saying: " To have many children is fitting 
for the populace, but kings and nobles take pride in the smallness of 
their families ". The hedgerow bird has a numerous brood but the falcon 
contents herself with a small one. 

Next for what you wrote, that " the King of kings has set informers 
and spies over the people of the land, and this has filled all men with 

i Where the copy has 0£J 3 (given in the Tehran ed.), A has &* , which Minovi emends 
to <5>'V . Iqbal prints ov* without comment. 

2 The remainder of this paragraph (after ... maintain their dignity) is peculiar to A. 

5 In both places (i.e., Tehran ed., p. 246 and p. 24"0 the MS. A has. i\j»*<*3* (M.); 
Eqbal prints in the first instance >\j* J\y> . 

4 c^-j, A (M. ; Iqbal). 

5 £ 1 j 4S> A (M.); I j ^j* Iqbal. Minovi takes £j> as Ji for ^Uli>\j olj^> , and 
translates: he chose out from among the princesses 'those who were the most virtuous and pious 

■ - that is, he chose them as his own wives. Henning prefers to take \j ■& j> as an ethical dative, 
which yields the translation given here. Either translation could be defended on historical 
grounds (see Christensen, L'Empire, -p. 29, n. I; L'lran, p. 109, n. 2). 

— 50 — 

— 51 — 

(25) fear and stupefaction ". Innocent and upright men have nothing to 
dread, for no one would be made the " eyes " l and informer of the 
King, who was not trustworthy, obedient, pure, devout, learned, reli- 
gious and abstinent in worldly things. Anything therefore which he 
reported would be based on the well-attested and proven. Since you are 
of a proper frame of mind and obedient, and they report this of you 
truthfully to the king, you should be the happier for it, since they report 
your devotedness and his favours are increased 2 . In the testament 
which the King of kings has written », he has dealt with this subject 
minutely, saying: "Ignorance on the part of the king and lack of know- 
ledge of the affairs of men is a doorway for evil «. But his seeking 
knowledge must be on condition that he is careful not to heed the words 
of men unworthy of trust and reliance. Nor should he necessarily 
follow this course and work according to it and think and say: "I 
am following the example of Ardaslr ". For I ordained this in an epoch 
of disorder, with religious matters in confusion 5 and the kingdom 
tottering, when all were strangers and rascals and there were no good 
men 6 . And then moreover I chose out the trusty, true and upright, 
and jgave no order without testing and verification. It may be that 
after me there will be a better people "*". Opportunity must never be 
given to rascals who by way of laying information bring such news 

(26 ) to the ear of kings that if they grant it a hearing (from which God pre- 
serve us), neither will people and subjects rest safe and tranquil, nor 

i The title " Eye of the King " was given in Old Persian to the official who reported 
on the activity of provincial governors; see H. H. Schaeder "Iranica", Abhandlungen-4. 
Gesellschafi d. Wissenschaften zu Gottingen, 1934, pp. 1-4. 

2 MS. A uo*»j (M.); »\> (Iqbal). 

3 See inlro., above, p. 14. 

4 n. 8 on p. 25 of the Tehran ed. is to be deleted; the words in question are found 
only in the copy, not in A (M.). For the cited sentence cf. the version of the Testament 
of Ardaslr in the MS. Koprulu 1608, f. 148 v.apud M, Grignaschi, Journal asiatique, 1966, 
pp. 51, 72. 

5 J 1 ** A (M.), JKx Iqbal. 

6 4; jUl ~+ A; the words in brackets in the Tehran edition (p. 25, 1. 10) are to be 

ignored (M.). 

7 This sentence is not found in the later MSS.; and Christensen (Us Gestes, p. 99, 
n. 1) suggests that it may be an interpolation. It rests on good manuscript evidence, however, 
and its sense fas with the tenor of the whole argument - namely that the stern measures 

advocated may be necessary only in certain ages. 

will kings have any trust and confidence in their loyalty and service. 
When the affairs of the kingdom reach this stage, revolution comes 
swiftly and the king is taxed with weakness of judgment and lack of 
power. Dc not therefore let your princely self believe that the King 
of kings is following a foolish course ... l . 

Then you said: "he has exacted money from men of wealth and 
merchants ". If you spoke of men as wealthy who are not so, you 
are talking to no purpose. If not, it is one of the proofs of wealth 
that he took nothing which was grudged and reluctant. As for those 
who brought offerings 2 without willingness and eagerness, be pleased 
not to call 3 them wealthy, but to describe them as rogues and rascals, 
since they acquired possessions by subterfuge and meanness and ba- 
seness and not by lawful ways. The idea that the king of the day should 
seek help for the common people from the superfluity of the wealthy 
is a religious principle and clearly justified in reason. 

Another question: " What has prevented the King of kings from 
appointing and nominating his successor?" 4 Know for answer that 
in this matter he was concerned for the mischief which would be caused 
by his designated successor. For were he to appoint and nominate 
anyone, that man would be mistrustful and anxious in dealings with 
every other person; and if anyone slackened in efforts to secure his 
favour, then he would bear a grudge against him. Moreover, when 
he sees his own successor, the king says: " this man is waiting and wat- 
ching for my death " 5. Friendship and affection and kindliness grow 
cold in his heart. Since to know the succession holds no advantage 
for king or people, it is best hidden. It is possible also that were it 
known, enemies would not lack plots and stratagems* and rebellious 

i The sentence ends with a rhyming parallel, meaning literally and an argument by 
boast, which yields better sound than sense (M.), i_Ct , restored in the Tehran edition, is 
present in A. The whole of the following paragraph, and the first part of the next, is missing 
from IXrmesteter's MSS. 

2 To get good sense from this passage, the > must be omitted between e~s_> and 

cu.J* (M.). 

J -^...j^ly. A; ^'...j*!^ B (M.). The variant in B is not given by Iqbal. 

* The appointing of a successor is discussed at some length, and on the same lines, 
in the Testament; Minovi has given a Persian translation of the relevant passage in the Te- 
hran edition, pp. 60-61. 

s This translation is preferred by M.; H. would translate instead Moreover, the succes- 
sor sees himself as king. (The king) says ... 

— 52 — 

(27 ) devils and those with the evil eye among jinns or men would bring 
affliction. Be assured moreover that whoever early becomes the cyno- 
sure of men's eyes will be exposed to ruin through egoism and lack of 
generous feeling. Whoever becomes an egoist will rebel against what 
is right; and whoever has become rebellious will soon fall into rages; 
and when he has fallen into a rage he will act unjustly; and when he has 
acted unjustly people will seek to be avenged on him, so that he will 
perish and others will lose their lives through him. The king should 
be one who has given obedience before he takes up the reins * of ruler- 
ship; one who has known what it is to contend against desire, and to 
taste the bitterness of frustration; one who has endured censure and 
chastisement from woman and child, master and man, friend and foe. 
I shall tell you a tale to illustrate this, which I know you will not have 
heard; and although 2 I have some anxiety lest this story of mine should 
survive among our descendants to be a reproach to us and to our under- 
standings, yet I shall set it down so that 1 may add to your knowledge. 
Known that we are called " the Iranian people " 3 , and there is 
no quality or trait of excellence or nobility which we hold dearer than 
this, that we have ever showed humility and lowliness and humbleness 
in the service of kings, and have chosen obedience and loyalty, devotion 
and fidelity. Through this quality our works were established and we 
came to be the head and neck of all the climes. And it is because of 
(28) this that we are called "the lowly" in scripture and in other books. 
Among the other honourable designations which are ours, this has 
been the best and the most prized both by our ancestors and their 
descendants; till we reached a point when it became clear to us that., 
this name serves to call and admonish us, and that through it glory 
and greatness, honour and rank endure for us, whereas abasement, 
abjectness and ruin come through hauteur, self-love and high-hand- 
edness. Our ancestors and their descendants have held to this belief 

i MS. A has f UI , to be taken for f & <M.); so also Iqbal, see his edition, p. 28, n. 1. 

i MS. A has cfi> (not <^j>) (M.). 

3 The opening sentence of this paragraph occurs only in MS. A; and the words here 
translated as " the Iranian people" appear in fact as j*J " the people of the QuraiS . 
The common occurrence in Arabic writings of the name of the Qurais has presumably led 
to a corruption of the word *} (H. and M-). What follows has its point in an oLd confu- 
sion, dating hack at least to Sasanian times, between two Middle Persian words, er < arya 
"Aryan, Iranian" and er < adara "low, humble". 


— 53 — 

and resolve and have known nothing but goodness and benevolence 
from kings, and kings nothing but obedience and affection from them. 
So have we been envied in our peace and quietness by the peoples of the 
world and have ruled the seven climes; so that if one of us had made 
the circuit of the seven climes, no living creature would have dared 
to cast a disrespectful glance upon him i through dread of our kings. 
So we lived till the days of Darius, son of Cihrzad. No king in the 
world was wiser, more learned or of nobler character than he, nor more 
beloved and absolute in power.. From China to the western lands of 
Greece all kings were bis ready slaves and sent to him tribute and 
gifts. He was given the by-name of Toyulsah 2 . 

The source of all the troubles and afflictions which have come upon 
him and upon his son Darius and upon the people of their day and 
upon us now is this: Toyulsah was a man who coveted the world and 
loved children, and because of his love for the world, affection for the 
only child he had overwhelmed him ; for he perceived that if he gave 
him his own name and bestowed crown and throne upon him, when 
he himself died he would still be numbered among the living and his 
memory would survive with his name. Day by day he read an omen 
into, the child's every movement and pictured in his growth the splen- 
dour of his own state. So it is said, As the child grows older , the father 
grows younger. Nor did he believe that 

There are things in the Unknown which thwart imaginings; 
Man does but gall himself with auguries and omens. 
He thinks by them to open the gate to the Unknown, 
But it is fast shut with locks against him. 

When the child had left the time Of cradle and swaddling-band and 
reached the stage of couch and carpet, he had the gates of honour 
flung open and the resources of fatherly favour marshalled. He 

1 Literally " upon us ". 

2 In Zoroastrian tradition, as shaped in the post-Achaemenian period, Darius I is 
represented as the son of Bahman Diraz-dast and his wife Humay Cihrazad; see F. Justi, 
Iranisches Namenbuch, pp. 131-32. The by-name of Toyulsah here given him remains ob-. 
score. Darmesteter suggested, very tentatively, that possibly some Turkish prince bore 
both names, Dora and Toyril (here corrupted into Toyul). Henning inclines rather to re- 
gard ToyulSak as the corruption of some Paalavi word. In this Zoroastrian tradition only 
Darius I and Darius III are recognised, the latter being made the son of the former (see 
the next paragraph of the text). 


— 54 — 

devoted himself to his education and to organizing him and his house- 
hold, and appointed officials, so that from the moment when he opened 
his eyes he saw himself crowned and enthroned. He did not think 
that kingship came by act of God, but that it was peculiarly his own 
attribute. He neglected to seek light from the counsel of men of intel- 
ligence and understanding and from those of whom he would one day 
have need. To himself he said: "From father to son, kingship is 
mine. The sun and the sown, the fowl and the fish, all are mine. If Fate 
should ... i, I shall tear it to pieces; if Destiny should gaze into the 
spaciousness of my eminence, I shall sew up its eyes ". 

There was a boy named Bin among their attendants' children. 
The prince became intimate with him and they grew to be friends and 
companions at board and table, till both became flown with the wine 
of pride and came to have one character and disposition. The prince, 
lacking natural understanding or ennobling generosity, was led by 
the fewness 2 of his wits to entrust the office of his private secretary 
to this youth, who is now proverbial among Iranians as a bringer of 
misfortune. Toyulsah had a secretary broken to work and galled in 
harness, tried and trusted in his service, wise, of sound judgment, 
(30) pious and faithful, of pleasing appearance and acclaimed character, 
with a virtuous disposition and auspicious temperament. Rastln was 
his name. So it has been said: The world re-echoed the praise of his 
virtuous deeds - deeds by whose like men have dated their writings. Bin 
began to strive with him over rank, conceiving in his heart a desire 
for his place; and before he was fitted to reach that station, he made 
the steed of acceleration prance to and fro, laying the lance of taunt 
and gibe upon his shoulder and drawing the sword of rancour from 
its sheath - all for the sake of that position. He laid denunciations 
of this man, written and spoken, before the nobles and grandees, al- 
though he was the deputy and representative of Toyulsah. The time came 
when matters passed beyond all bounds; for Bin, being young, would 
not be still nor show forbearance and patience, that the position might 
in time be his. It has been said Better is a dog, though the most worth- 
less cur, than one who wrangles about a leader's place before he is fit 

1 The words ±}f jj< are unintelligible. 

2 The reading of the word translated as "fewness" is doubtful. is*** aad as-* 
are both unattested, but either would yield the meaning " smallness " (H.). 

— 55 — 

to hold it 1 . One day therefore Rastln went before the King of kings 
and sought private audience. At that time, if people could not tell 
the King of kings a matter plainly, they would invent fictitious anec- 
dotes and tales, out of their own heads, and relate them, that he might 
ask questions in the course of them and probe the matter. Rastln said 2 : 
" May the life of the King of kings be linked in duration with 
time itself! I have heard that once upon a time there was a city 
amid some islands, prosperous and secure. A king ruled this city 
who had inherited authority over it from his ancestors. In the environs 
of that city a troop of monkeys had made their home, and they too 
passed their days in ease of life, with abundance and tranquillity; and (31) 
they had a king whom they obeyed, to whose council they lent ear 
and to whose guidance they inclined their hearts. They did not let a 
sigh from their hearts reach their lips without sign from him. One day 
he desired them to assemble. When they were gathered together, he 
said : " We must betake ourselves from the neighbourhood of this 
city and travel to another place. For I see beneath the ashes the glow- 
ing of embers, and soon flames will leap up! 1 " The monkeys said: " It 
behoves you to tell the reason for this decision and the cause of this 
happening, and to justify to us this resolve, that we may be of one ac- 
cord. If the plan promises success and welfare, none will deviate 
from your counsel ". He said: " Assuredly I shall not divulge the rea- 
son for this to you, for this abode has been pleasant 3 to you and is 
a spacious and delightful place \ full of blessings. I know that if I 
possessed you of what is known to me, it would have no weight in 
your eyes and no place in your hearts. But since you know the excellence 
of my understanding and the superiority of my intelligence over yours, 
accept my counsel and consider obedience necessary, that we may 
go to another place. For the sages have said: What is foresight but 
to keep my riding-camels lightly burdened, lest I should not enjoy my 
share of sustenance in the place of my birth? In any case the custom of 

1 The author of this couplet is Mansur b. Isma'il al-Faqlh who died in Basra in A. H. 
306 (918 A.C.) (ML). 

2 On the story which follows here see Asia Major, n.s., V, 1 (1955), 50 if., and intro., 
above, p. 15. 

3 Reading J.T J.^-, with all MSS. (ML). 

4 Reading j-\j ^W , with all MSS. (M.). 

— 56 — 

all prophets and apostles has been to leave their country and to go 
into exile away from tyranny and calamity. Nor does it accord with 
reason that a wise man should see presages of evil and bodings of harm 
for himself and his servants, his people and followers, and make light 
of it, letting care for his birthplace and home l outweigh the sweet- 
ness of the life which he might profitably lead elsewhere. He risks 
(32) being called ignorant and slothful and draws death upon himself by 
folly. Kufa is not my mother nor Basra my father, nor does sloth hold 
me back from journeying. Man finds joy in his own stumblings, and 
rest in death: and upon earth the noble man has wide space for travelling 2. 
For he who is noble by origin and honourable by nature takes with 
him, to every place and abode where he makes his dwelling, natural 
excellencies and pleasures in small things. When he falls for example 
into the sea, then generosity and triumphant virtues swim along with 
him. If greatness and worth 3, livelihood and dignity, were but in one 
place, all others being excluded, it would not have been said: If the 
mere abiding of a man in one home brought glory to him, the sun would 
not quit her house in Leo even for a day". The monkeys said: "It is 
from fullness of compassion, O king, and abundance of affection for 
us, your subjects, that you so earnestly prepare the ground for our 
acceptance of this counsel. Assuredly had not Fate revealed some mo- 
mentous happening and some deadly blow, you would not speak in 
such enlarged terms. But while the explanation of the circumstance 
of this resolve is not made known to us, the beating of our hearts will 
not be stilled. Doubtless once we understand this mystery we shall 
feel bound to do whatever you enjoin and to refrain from whatever 
you forbid; and through the fullness of your compassion and the cott- 
spicuousness of your mercy new strength will be given to the vigour 

i " >t.> *ij means the P lace whete °° e is born and lives ( s y noii y m(>us with ** 

and «>>»). Professor Deh Khoda has met the expression used in the following verse of 
Jamalu-d Din "Abdu-r Rizzaq Isfahan!, which is not without ambiguity, however: 
s- 4* »lj 4 W JjlJ i^ alj jt <S& 4 S f \i 4 b 3 Jil> &s ft & 

It is perhaps unnecessary to mention that, apart from this phrase, f x »b means " birth- 
place" (Minovi, p. 62). 

2 This verse, and what follows, down to and including the next verse-quotation, 
axe absent from Darmesteter's edition. 

3 The reading of B, namely e-iu s ? , has been followed here in preference to the 

c-i* jjJ> of A (M.)< 

— 57 — 

of our hearts and the liveliness of our actions ". The king of the mon- 
keys said: "Know that yesterday I was in a tree commanding the 
outskirts of this city and I looked into the palace of its king. I saw 
one of the rams belonging to the prince of this city butting at one of 
his servant-girls. Wise men have said: Avoid a place where incompati- 
bles are together , and have admonished against it. I do not wish to 
rebel against the command of the sages nor to consider their utterances 
as jests ". The monkeys all smiled in astonishment at his words. Then 
beginning to be vexed and angry, they said to him stubbornly and (33) 
scoffingly: " If lightning should appear over the sand-hills round the bend 
of the river-bed 1, then should I return, even though my eyes filled and I 
wept tears. You are our lord and king of so many years, mentor of 
the people, venerable 2 , wise and experienced. Will you not tell us 
then what is to befall us through butting and squabbling between a 
ram and the king's servant-girl?" The king of the monkeys said: 
'* Firstly your destruction, which in itself is trifling and of no moment, 
concerning in the beginning only yourselves. Thereafter destruction 
to the people of this city, ruin and slaughter ". At this statement the 
monkeys' surprise and astonishment increased. They said: " We have 
not known you in this state before. The evil eye has affected you and 
a veil has appeared over your understanding. Pray provide yourself 
with sound diet till we bring physicians and cure your melancholy, 
that you may be restored to yourself and not become debarred and ex- 
cluded from kingship ". The king of the monkeys said: " Rightly 
have the sages said: A man who lacks intelligence cannot be made illu- 
strious even by power; a man who lacks contentment cannot be made 
rich even by wealth; a man who lacks faith cannot be given understanding 
of religious law even by the traditions 3 . Since this is your opinion of 
me, it is better that I should go in search of a physician myself and re- 
move the burden of sickness from you ". And straightway he tightened 
the girth of the steed of separation and abandoned his realm. 

Not long after that, the servant-girl ran out of the palace with (34) 

1 i*ji-l , rendered here as *' river-bed " 3 may in fact be a place-name (M.). This 
verse is not in Darmesteter's MSS. 

2 Reading o- «-*"*■" » ^^ al1 M ^S, (M.). 

3 This Arabic quotation is followed by a Persian rendering, in which the word ullaU > 
which at the time of Ibnu'l Muqaffa' meant " power ", is mistranslated by Ibn Isfandiyar 
as "king" (M.). 

— 58 — 

a bottle of oil in her hand and a firebrand. The ram, as had become 
its custom, went to meet the girl and flung itself against her. The girl 
threw the glass bottle and firebrand at it, and the oil met fire and fleece. 
In its terror at the heat from the flames the ram rushed from that door 
to another, fleeing from house to house till it came to the home of one 
of the chief pillars of the state, one of the city's leading men. By chance 
the master of the house was sick. It ran to him, burning him and se- 
veral other nobles. This news was carried to the ruler of the city, who 
demanded from the physicians herbs and plasters for bums. They 
agreed that nothing was so efficacious for such a plaster as a monkey's 
gall, and said it was a thing perfectly simple to get i. A man was bidden 2 
take horse and hunt down a monkey and bring back its gall. In ac- 
cordance with the king's commands the huntsman by craft and cunning 
caught a monkey and achieved his purpose. The monkeys banded 
together and killed the king's messenger and scattered his limbs pie- 
cemeal. This was told the king, who took horse and joined battle 
with the monkeys and slaughtered so many that compunction overtook 
him. Thus a monkey was able to approach one of the king's courtiers. 
He saluted him and said: " For many years we have lived beside you. 
Neither have we suffered harm from you, nor you loss from us. Each 
has concerned himself with his allotted sustenance and his private life 3 . 
What purpose roused you to slay us and root us out, thus wounding 
(35) the eye of generosity with thorns and making light of the claims of 
neighbourliness ; finding pretext to scorn the keeping of troth and sett- 
ing at nought the reproaches of this world and the penalties of the next? 
O tyrants over us in your government! - tyranny is the worst deed that 
is enacted! " That man told the monkey the whole story of the ram 
and girl and fire, of the men who were burnt and the physicians' reme- 
dies, the killing of the hunter and the king's vengeance. The monkey's 
eyes filled with tears and he said: " It was true, the saying of the Com- 
mander of the Faithful, AH (upon him be peace): " Truly revolt against 
the counsel of a compassionate, wise and experienced man bequeathes 
sorrow and leaves behind remorse ". / told you my bidding at the bend 

1 Or possibly " that it was (an animal) gentle and easy (to catch) ". The construction 
is awkward. 

2 MS. A has -t>yj (M.). 

1 The words rendered as " private life " mean literally " veiled veil ". The phrase 
is obscure (M.), 

— 59 — 

of the sand-hills, but you did not see that it was good counsel till the sun 
was high next morning. Noble sir! Fate's torrent has borne us first 
away to the sea of nothingness. Let us see what straws Fortune scat- 
ters on the path for your destruction '*. The man questioned him, 
saying: "You have made grave utterance. Have you any evidence 1 
or proof, any support or convincing reason for these words? " The 
monkey said: "Know that we had a king, wise and sagacious, vir- 
tuous and learned, who knew the wonders of the world and the marvels 
of the heavens; who by powerful intellect escaped a thousand ambushes, 
who never set foot in Fortune's snare, nor fell victim to her sleights. 
He had firm courage and a prescient mind. Church and state and all (36) 
the peoples, yea God himself were pleased by his endeavours 2 . One 
day, to gaze abroad, he climbed a tree which was beside 3 the city's 
walls ". And he told the story of the ram and servant-girl, and what 
had passed between them and the king, to the very end. Then he said: 
" Because we would not hearken to his counsels and showed ingratitude 
for his bounties % he, not being willing to meet such a death 5 , renounced 
the kingship and withdrew from among us. Assuredly since what he 
foretold has duly overtaken us, it will in turn befall you also ". The 
man listened to this story with astonishment and when they reached 
the city he repeated it. Rumour of this report travelled from mouth 
to mouth among rich and poor till it was told the king. He bade them 
seek the man who had first related it. This man was one of the nota- 
bles of the city, with many kinsmen and brothers. When he was brought 
before the king, it so befell that smoke from the hre of the king's wrath 
raised steam from the lid of his brain up to Capelia. Straightway he 
commanded that the man be punished. When his dependents heard 
this, they gathered at the palace with the whole populace of the city, 
and a revolt broke out which was beyond quelling and which ended in 
the king's death, the scattering of the people and the ruin of the city " 6. 

i MS. A has J**- g* <M.). 

z This Arabic verse is not in Darmesteter's MSS. 

i MS. A JjtS* (M.). 

4 The translation " bounties" is based on a conjectural reading of Minovi's, namely 

s Cf. modern Persian colloquial f M ojl df>, " I'm not game for this " (M.). 
6 In the Paiicatatitra version of this story (see intra., above, p. 15), it is the surviving 
king of the monkeys who avenges his former subjects by contriving the death of the king and 

his people, The story in the Sindbad Name stops short with the slaughter of the monkeys. 

— 60 — 

When the secretary Rastln had reached this point in his discourse 
to Toyulsah, the latter said: " Where is this parable and story leading, 
and what is your purpose in relating it? " Rastln told how matters 
stood between himself and Bin, the secretary of Darius, and said: 
" Painful though it may be to the King of kings, yet the best course 
07) is to dismiss me, that this strife may end ". The King of kings said: 
"Be silent and say nothing of this secret. The matter will doubtless 
settle itself ". Not long after BM died, and it was said that Toyulsah 
had had him poisoned at the house of a general. 

When the measure of Toyulsah' s days was full, his bodily nature 
was resolved into its elements and the falcon of death bore off all his 
desire. The crowned ruler assembles accoutrements and men in numbers, 
but death unaided snatches thousands away. Then Darius seated him- 
self on his father's throne and the peoples of the world offered him 
felicitations. From India and China 1 r from Greece and Palestine 
they gathered at his court with presents and offerings, fair women and 
tokens to be remembered by. It has been said: The fortunes of the world 
are at once both cruel and kind. One tree withers under them end an- 
other casts its shade. 

Darius could not forbear first granting the vazirship to Birrs 
brother. He did not reflect on the saying: If you are one of the rulers 
of men, rule the noble with kindness and generosity, but rule the base 
with contumely, for on contumely they will reform. The base are to be 
subdued. When Bin's brother had acquired absolute authority over 
the realm of Darius, in revenge for his brother he carried fabrications 
to the king concerning the famous men and leaders, the rulers and com- 
manders who had been associates and friends of Rastln. Since the king 
was young and arrogant and lacked training in affairs, he would not 
sanction the pardon of transgressions, till it came about that througb- 
(38) out the world the coinage of men's hearts was debased for him and 
hatred of him became fixed in men's innermost thoughts and trust 
in his words and deeds vanished. He abandoned the customs of the 
ancients and adopted this secretary's new ways. When tidings came 
that Alexander was in the field on his western borders, then the king 
was set on the steed of foolhardihood and the reins of presumption 

i For " China" MS. A has ^ (M.). 

— 61 — 

were given into his hand. When the encounter took place, some de- 
serted him, one group set about making terms with the enemy, and 
others flung themselves upon him and slew him. They repented there- 
after, but it was when repentance for that wickedness was without 
avail. And on the morrow he turned down the palms of his hands for 
what he liad spent thereon K 

The King of kings has not made this a rule, that none who conies 
after him should name his heir, nor has he made it final 2 . AH he has 
done is to indicate the wisest course, saying: ** We do not seek to pre- 
vent them putting an end to what seemed to us right, for we know 
nothing of hidden wisdom. The hidden world is far above, and ours 
is that of growth and decay 3 . In all respects and phases the two are 
opposed, and the people of this world have no knowledge of the other. 
It may be that a time will come which will be at variance with our coun- 
sel 4 , when fittingness will bear a different face ". 

As for what you wrote, that "ministers, councillors and men of 
sagacity should be consulted in this matter, that they may appoint a 
successor ", know that we have desired that in this decision the King 
of kings should be unique among rulers, not consulting any man 5 , nor 
being persuaded to an appointment by words and signs, meetings and (39) 
discussions. We have desired that he should write three copies of a 
letter in his own hand, and entrust each to a faithful and reliable person, 
one to the chief mobad, another to the chief secretary 5 , and the third 
to the commander-in-chief; so that when the world is abandoned by 
the King of kings - Morning and night he comes and goes; but the time 
is near when he will come and go no more - then they will cause the chief 
mobad to be in readiness; and these other two persons will come to- 
gether, and they will deliberate, and will break the seal of the writings 
to see on which son the choice of these three persons will fall, If the 

i Qur^dn XVIII, 40 (Palmer's translation). 

1 It is possible from A to read either ~>- " concluding, conclusive ", or f> " de- 
termining, decisive" (M,). 

* yEveaiS and <p&dQ<Jis, in Pahlavi bawifn (YffWWNsn) and winahisn', see Zend- 
Avesta, III, p. xxxiii (D.). 

4 In A the word jh (here translated as. " counsel ") is replaced by a strange form 

ylj, and the whole sentence appears to have been re-written by a later hand (M,). 

5 A has <3*k (not Jp- ) (M.)- 

6 Pahlavi debUen maJiist, more officially Eran-dabirbad (D.); cf. above, p. 41 a. 2. 

— 62 — 

chief mo bad's * choice accords with the choice of all three, it will be 
announced to the people; but if the mobad is at variance, nothing will 
be divulged. The people will hear neither of the writings nor of the 
mobad's decision and utterance, till the mobad has retired alone with 
the herbads and with devout and ascetic men and has seated himself 
in worship and prayer. Behind them virtuous and pure men will 
raise their hands in amens and entreaties, in submission and suppli- 
cation. When they cease at the time of evening prayer, they will resolve 
upon whatever God (exalted be His realm) has put into the mobad's 
mind. That night they will set the crown and throne in the audience- 
room and the groups of noblemen will take up their positions in their 
own places. The mobad, together with herbads and nobles, the illus- 
trious and the pillars of the realm, will go to the assembly of the princes; 
and they will range themselves before them and will say; " We have 
carried our perplexity before God Almighty and He has deigned to show 
us the right way and to instruct us in what is best ". The mobad will 
cry aloud 2 , saying: "The angels have approved the kingship of such- 
an-one, son of such-an-one. Acknowledge him also, ye creatures of 
(40) God, and good tidings be yours! " They will take up that prince and 
seat him on the throne and place the crown on his head, and taking 
him by the hand will say: " Do you accept the kingship from God Al- 
mighty (glory be to His name) according to the religion of Zoroaster 3 , 
upheld by the King of kings, Gustasp son of Luhrasp, and restored 
by Ardasir son of Papak?" The king will accept this covenant and 
will say: " Please God I shall be given grace to secure the welfare of 
my people ". His servants and retinue will remain with him, and the 

i The word mobad, in the phrase mdbad mtsbadan, restored in the Tehran ed_, is pre- 
sent in A (M). A different and more logical account of the procedure described here is, 
to be found in the Testament of ArdaSir (a Persian translation of die passage is given by 
Minovi, Tehran ed., pp. 60—1). There it is said that ArdaSir advised bis descendants to name 
their own successors, but not to divulge their choice. Instead they were to write the name 
on four pieces of paper, which, signed and sealed, were to be given to four persons among 
the dignitaries of the realm. On the king's death the four copies- were to be opened and 
compared, in order to find the heir. There is no question of the opinion of the dignitaries 
themselves having anything to do with the selection. They were merely to be the custodians 
of the king's choice. The version in the Letter of Tansar has a strong clerical bias. 

2 MS. A has ijU j, j± ^£l (M). 

3 The translation is Minovi's; Darmesteter took &j>j,—\S*£ JjJ to mean instead: 
" Do you accept the religion (of Zoroaster) ". 

— 63 — 

rest of the thronging multitude will return to their own affairs and oc- 
cupations ' . 

Then as to your question concerning the King of king's feasting 
and fighting and his states of peace and war: I declare to you that the 
earth has four parts 2. One part is the land of the Turks, stretching 
from the western borders of India to the eastern borders of Rome 3. 
The second part lies between Rome and the Copts and Berbers. The 
third part, that of the blacks 4 , stretches from the Berbers to India; 
and the fourth part is this land which is called Persia and which has 
as its title " The Land of the Humble ", from the river of Balkh up to 
the furthermost borders of the land of ASarbaigan and of Persarmenia, 
and from the Euphrates and the land of the Arabs up to Oman and 
Makran and thence to Kabul and Toxaristan. This fourth part is the 
chosen stretch of earth, and bears to other lands the relation of head 
and navel, hump and belly. I shall explain this to you: as for the head, 
that is because from the time oflraj son of Afridun headship and king- 
ship belonged to our kings and they were rulers over all. Differences 

i This semi-elective character of the kingship, which is not mentioned by the Persian 
historians, has nevertheless left its trace in the scenes of acclamation by the nobles which 
take place at each accession in Firdausi and Tabari. To what extent the right to elect re- 
mained theoretical or was a reality it is difficult to say, given the silence of the historical 
texts. The fact that the king often had as successor his brother or uncle, instead of his 
son, proves that direct succession according to primogeniture was not a recognised prin- 
ciple (D.). 

2 The conception of the division of the world into four parts is an old one. It is chiefly 
attested in the further east, notably India and China; bat the version which is both one of 
the oldest and the one closest to that in the Letter is preserved in Manichaean i.e. in Iranian 
tradition. In the Coptic version of the Manichaean Kephalaia (ed, H.J. Polo tsky, Stutt- 
gart, 1940, Ch. LXXVH) Mani is represented as namjog the four kingdoms as 1) Babylon 
and Persia 2) Rome 3) the kingdom of the Axumkes (i.e. Abyssinia) and 4) Silis (i.e. China, 
or some northern state). This version presumably belongs to the 3rd century A.C. Indian 
versions, of which the oldest are also dated to the 3rd century A. C, give the kingdoms as 
1) India 2) Persia 3) China and 4) the northern barbarians. Later Persian versions usually 
give I) Persia- 2) India 3) Rome and 4) the Turks (H.). 

Den Khoda has noticed that this part of the Letter, from p. 40.7 of the Tehran ed. 
(" the earth has four parts") down to p. 41.10 ("all the sciences that there are upon eanh"), 
is preserved in a closely-corresponding Arabic version in the Kitabu-1 Buldan of Ibnu-1 Faqlh,' 
who gives it as the utterance of ArdaSir i Papakan; see Minovi, Tehran ed., p. 64. 

3 This reference to the Turks led Darmesteter to doubt the authenticity of this whole 
passage, but see above, intra., p. 19. 

« The word ol»L- " blacks " is evidently a mistranslation by Ibn Isfandiyar of 
the Arabic *1,Jl j$ t " districts of the Sawad ", preserved by Ibnu-1 Faqih (M.). 

— 64 — 

which arose among the peoples of the earth were settled by their de- 
crees and counsels and to them the peoples sent their daughters and 
tribute and offerings. As for the navel, that is because our land lies 
(4J) in the midst of other lands and our people are the most noble and 
illustrious of beings. The horsemanship of the Turk », the intellect 
of India, and the craftsmanship and art of Greece, God (blessed be 
His realm) has endowed our people with all these, more richly than 
they are found in the other nations separately. He has withheld from 
them the ceremonies of religion and the serving of kings which He 
gave to us. And He made our appearance and our colouring and our 
hair according to a just mean, without blackness prevailing or yellow- 
ness or ruddiness; and the hair of our beards and heads neither too 
curly like the negro's, nor quite straight like the Turk's. As for the 
hump, that is because our country, although small in comparison with 
the other countries, enjoys more advantages and a. more abundant 
life. As for the belly, that is because they say of our country that all 
that exists in the other three parts of the world is brought to our coun- 
try and is for our enjoyment, be it food or drugs or perfumes; even 
as food and drink goes to the belly. And He has endowed us with 
all the sciences that there are upon earth. Our kings have never been 
accused of slaughter and pillage, treachery and irreligion. Even if 
two kings were at variance, or if they extended their protection to reli- 
gion, exterminating mischief-makers by pillage and slaughter, yet 
they did not allow captives to be called slaves and claimed for bondage, 
but peopled cities with them. They did not impose levies on their 
subjects for plunder 2 and dominance, or to gratify greed for wealth, , 
and their own passions and desires. If contention arose among them, 
they restrained it by truth and law and argument A thousand of our 
soldiers have never met a foe of twenty thousand strong without being 
victorious and triumphant », because they have never been instigators 
(42) in tyranny and war and slaughter. You will have heard that Afra- 

J MS. A has iij (not J J ) (M.)- On pp. 64-6 of the Tehran edition Minovi gives 

passages from Islamic authors illustrating Persian respect for Turks, Indians and Greeks, 
in contrast with their contempt for the Arab. 
* MS. A has ir&»' , like the copy (M.). 

3 MS. A has Ji J.T ph.j jy** , without j. ; the ir ** of the Tehran ed. is a misprint 

— 65 — 

siyab the Turk betrayed Siyavas i. Our forefathers fought him in 

200 places and had the victory in each \ till the time when they slew 
him and the murderers of Siyavas and conquered all the lands of the 
Turk. So today the King of kings has cast the shadow of his majes- 
ty over all who have acknowledged his pre-eminence and service and 
have sent him tribute, and has protected their borders from attack 
by his own men. Thereafter he has devoted all his thoughts to attack- 
ing the Greeks and pursuing his quarrel against that people; and he 
will not rest till he has avenged Darius against the successors of Alexan- 
der, and has replenished his coffers and the treasury of state, and has 
restored by the capture of descendants of his soldiers 3 the cities which 
Alexander laid waste in Iran. And he will impose on them tribute such 
as they have ever paid our kings for the land of Egypt and for Syria; 
for in ancient times they had made conquest in the land 4 of the He- 
brews. When Nebuchadnezzar went there and subdued them s , he 
did not establish any 6 of our people in that place because it had a bad 
climate, poor water and chronic sicknesses. He entrusted that region 
to the king of the Greeks, contenting himself with tribute. So things 
remained down to the time of Xosrau Anosirvan 7. 

As for what you mentioned of your own circumstances and those 
of the people with you in Tabaristan and Pariswar, know that you 

1 & is to be omitted after 6 J (M); for the story of Afrasiyab and SiyavaS in pre- 
Islamic sources Darmesteter refers to the Avestan Yost, DC, 18, XIX, 77, and to his own 
£tudes iraniennes, II, 227. 

2 MS. A has £**• , like the copy (M.). 

3 The words *' of his soldiers " have been added for clarity in the English translation. 

4 MS. A has the words Jj^U* &j j» <f (M.). 

5 Pride led the Iranians to adopt the Chaldaeao. king Nebuchadnezzar, who conquered 
Jerusalem and took captive the Jews, as one of then- own heroes, making him a son of the 
champion Gudarz, and one of the captains of king Luhxasp; see E. Poure-Davud The 
YaSls, II, p. 208, cited by Minovi, Tehran ed., p. 67. 

« MS. Abash JS (M.). 

7 On the final sentence or this paragraph see above, intro., p. 13 with n. 9 
Much of what precedes it accords admirably with the time and pretensions of Ar- 
dasir. Darmesteter cites a passage from Herodianus recording claims made in congruent 
terms by Ardaslr on the " provinces of Asia ", namely that since these provinces had been 
governed by Persian satraps from the time of Cyrus to Darius III, " who was conquered 
by Alexander ", he, ArdaSTr, would be doing no injustice to Rome in claiming what was 
his own mheritance. As Darmesteter remarks, it was a strange coincidence that the Roman 
emperor on whom Ardalfr declared war was Alexander Severus, who himself took his 
namesake, Alexander the Great, for g model. 

— 66 — 

are one among the multitudes of the world. You can do as the rest 
do. If you do other than that, well, none can cope with all the world. 
< 43 ) Then you declared: "I have kinship and blood-ties with the 

King of Icings through Ardasir son of Isfandiyar, whom they called 
Bahman " l . My answer to you is this; In my eyes this latter Ardasix 
is of far greater worth than the Ardasir of old. If you wish to seek 
among the people of your father's or your mother's house, who are 
your kin, one to excel you in one or two qualities, inevitably you can 
and will find him; but not everyone who is superior to you in one or 
two qualities is your peer. If it were so, it would be proper to prefer 
asses to horses, in that the ass's hoof is harder than the horse's 2 and 
asses more inured to toil. But the truth is that in deeds and qualities 
and excellencies regard should be had for the general and prevailing, 
not for the exceptional and rare, which may be looked upon as frea- 
kish. You must guard your manly dignity and accept my counsel 
and hasten to render homage. 

I had thought not to make you answer lest my reply awake your 
displeasure, seeing that it contains what it does of scorn. But again 
I feared lest you attribute silence to other and different reasons. Those 
deeds and commands of the King of kings which you have enumerated 

Christensen (Ac/a Orientalia, X, pp. 54-5) points out that this lastquestion by Gusnasp 
is about " the King of king's feasting and fighting and his states of peace and war ", and 
that Tansar has answered it only in part, omitting any words about feasting. The Letter 
of Tansar was, as Christensen has established, known to the anonymous author of the Fars- 
Name; and it happens that in that book there is a passage which concerns ArdaSir's feast- 
ing, which Christensen believes to be derived from the Letter, and to have been omitted 
by Ibn Isfandiyar (see further above, intro., p. 3 note 7). This seems a reasonable 
supposkion, although it is not so easy to agree with Christensen about exactly where the 
passage should be inserted in Ibn Isfandiyar's text. 

The passage in the Fars-Name (Gibb Memorial Series, n.s., I, 1921, p. 61) runs as 
follows: ■" His (i.e. ArdaSir's) close companions were all wise men, and men of excellence. 
On two days of each week he held assembly. On one day, at a grand audience, he drank 
wine with the great men of the realm, and treated each graciously, behaving to him as was 
fit. On the other day he drank wine in seclusion with the wise men and men of excellence 
who were his close companions, and profited from them. Throughout his assemblies the 
talk ran seriously, and never turned to jest , 

The other days of the week he was occupied with administering the state, and con- 
quering the world, and smiting his foes. His endeavour was to defeat his enemies, and he 
held delights forbidden him until success was complete ". 

i See F. Jusli, Iranisches Namenbuch, p. 374, Wohu-manah no. 2, 

2 cJ ul jl MS. A (M.)- 

— 67 — 

and which have amazed you should cause you no wonder. The wonder 
lies in this, how, alone, he pursued and won the lordship and kingdom 
of the world, though all the land surged with lions of whetted appetite, 
and though 400 years had passed in which the world was filled with 
wild and savage beasts 1 and devils in human form, without religion 
or decency, learning or wisdom or shame. They were a people who 
brought nothing but desolation and corruption to the world; cities 
became deserts, and buildings were razed. In the space of fourteen 
years 2 , through policy and strength and skill, he brought it about that 
he made water flow in every desert and established towns and created (44) 
groups of villages, in a way not achieved in the 4000 years before him. 
He found builders and inhabitants and caused roads to be made. He 
established customs concerning eating and drinking, and clothes for 
travel and for home. He sets his hand to nothing without gaining 
the people's trust in his ability, and without accomplishing it surely. 
He has taken such pains for the future - up to a thousand years after 
his own day - that within that time no evil will befall. He has more 
joy in the future and more concern in the interests of those who will 
come after him than he has in his own auspicious age. Yet good order 
in the affairs of the people affects him more than the welfare of his 
own body and soul. Whoever considers his achievements during these 
fourteen years, and whoever sees and understands his excellence and 
learning* his powers of exposition and eloquence 3 , his wrath and gra- 
ciousness, his liberality and modesty, his sagacity and shrewdness, 
will agree that since the power of the world's Creator arched 4 this 
azure sphere the world has not known so true a king. This gate to 
goodness and good order, set open by him for the people, will remain 
so for a thousand years; and were it not, as we know, that after a 
thousand years, by reason of neglect of his testament, riot and disorder 

1 MS. A is torn at this point; B has the word ^^3, but the other words supplied 
in the Tehran ed. remain conjectural (M). 

2 Darmesteter sees in these 14 years the space of time needed by Ardasnr to establish 
his dominion over the different local rulers of the Parthian Empire. The violence of the 
attack on Parthian rule probably owes much to Ibn Isfandiyar's extensions. 

3 "Powers of exposition and eloquence "render <=~»-La» and ijU . The following word 
(— *has been left untranslated, although it is in A also, since it yields no evident sense,, and 
spoils the symmetry of the sentence. 

4 ta-l A> ^ MS. A (M.). 

— 68 — 

will come into the world, and that all that he bound will be loosed and 
all that he loosed will be bound, we should say that he had toiled for 

(45) the world to eternity i. Though we are creatures of mortality and no- 
thingness, yet is it wisdom to labour for perpetuity and to plan for 
everlastingness. It befits you to be such a man. Do not aid destruc- 
tion, that it may come the more swiftly upon you and your people; 
for the sages have said: Mortality is sufficient to itself and needs not 
your help. It behoves you to aid yourself and your people by what adorns 
you m this transient abode and benefits you in the everlasting one 2 . Be 
assured that whoever abandons striving and leans upon destiny and 
fate will have held himself in contempt; and that whoever devotes 
himself wholly to seeking and striving, denying fate and destiny, is 
ignorant and deluded. The wise man should follow a course between 
striving and yielding to fate, and not content himself with either one; 
for destiny and striving are like two bales of a traveller's luggage upon 
a beast's back. If of the two one is heavier and the other lighter, the 
luggage will fall to the ground, the beast's back be broken and the tra- 
veller be distressed and unable to reach his goal. If both bales are equal, 
the traveller will not be harassed, the beast too will be comfortable, 
and they will reach their destination. 

Men say that long ago there was a king called Jahtal 3. He be- 
lieved in fate 4 and was fanatical and bigoted about it. He used to 
say: Man cannot efface what destiny has written and what the moving 

(46) pen has traced upon die slate. The men of his age and people of his 
time repudiated his doctrines and way of life, so that one of his brothers 

i According to Zoroastrian chronology, the world lasts 12,000 yeajs, Zoroaster 
appeared at the end of the 9th millenium; and each of the three remaining jcnilienia is to 
be marked by calamities which will be terminated by the corning of one of three successive 
saviours, the sons of Zoroaster. Arda$lr was held to appear in the year 553 of the 10th 
millenium. Probably therefore in the prophecy of the disaster to follow him the term " a 
thousand years " is loosely used. The Arabic text of this passage is to be found, presumably 
taken from Ibnu'l Muqaffa', in Mas'udi, Kitab ut-Tanbik, ed, de Goeje, pp. 98-99 (D.). 

2 Minovi points out that these lines are in excellent Arabic and possibly, therefore, 
the work of Ibnu'l Muqaffa' himself. 

3 On this story see Asia Major, n.s., V, i (1954), p. 50 ff, and intro., above, p. 15. 

* It is probable that Ibn Isfandiyar adopted the term t$j-» from the text of Ibnu'l 
Muqaffa', where it was presumably used as an adjective derived from >» " fate ", and 
hence had simply the meaning " fatalist ". By Ibn Isfandiyar's own day the word had 
come to be a technical term for one who believed in free-will, as opposed to a <$j?- , a 
believer in fate (M.). 

— 69 — 

prevailed over him in contest for the sovereignty, and drove him 
. and his children out of the kingdom. They attached themselves 
to Qiransah, and passed their days without dignity in his service. 
Having put his trust in fate and destiny, Jahtal made no effort to seek 
back his realm. Matters reached a point when they lacked strength 
to gain a livelihood. His children went to Mm and said: " Your belief 
in destiny has made us of little esteem, and your craven spirit and lowly 
disposition and faint-heartedness have brought you to this - like a 
camel, which, because of its cowardice, is led by a ten-year-old boy 
through the markets, laden with dried grass and wearing a nose-rope. 
Had the camel the heart of a sparrow, a mere child could not humiliate 
it so ". And to illustrate this, they told a story for their father which 
has become proverbial among men of learning. They said: " There 
was once a blind man in a village on the edge of a desert. He had no 
guide to lead him about, and nowhere any means of livelihood. With 
him was a lame man, sunk like him in poverty. A virtuous man used 
every day to bring a little food for them and give it them, and they 
provided themselves therewith; till one day they waited as usual, but 
his time being ended 1 , death had come to that good man and he had 
passed away. A day or two went by, and the two poor fellows became 
weak with hunger. They thought of a plan whereby the blind man 
was to take the lame on his shoulders and the lame man was to be his 
guide, and they were to go round the houses and the market; and in 
this way they made a livelihood and were content, attaining what they 
desired ". Jahtal said to his children: " You are right. Adversity 
and misfortune have kept me in this state ". They became of one ac- 
cord, endured hardship in striving for the kingdom, and by effort won 
what they desired. Be is a helpless man who forswears pursuit, putting (47) 
his trust in what destinies and fates will do. If counsel were of no avail, 
there would be no thought; if pursuit were useless, there would be no 

The king and prince of Tabaristan must forgive me for the bold- 
ness I have shown; for I thought it right to omit no piece of counsel, 
through respect for your father and the greatness of your family; and 
not to incline towards hypocrisy and flattery, dissimulation and 

1 MS, A has J=rl <^j , instead of the variant J^l «jj (M,). 

— 70 — 

smoothness. I shall not visit i men for flattery's sake. The corner- 
stones of my being lean away from such baseness. I am kepi from a posi- 
tion of contempt by magnanimity of such loftiness that compared with it 
the cheek of Azimech 2 is laid in dust. 

Thus far is the translation of the words of Ibnu-1 Muqaffa*. Peace 
be upon you! But I have read in books that when Gusnasp king of 
Tabaristan read Tansar's letter, he went to pay fealty to Ardasir son 
of Papak, and surrendered his throne and crown. Ardasir deemed 
lavishness fitting in showing him favour and welcome. After a space 
of time, when he had resolved upon the expedition against Greece, 
he sent him back and granted to him Tabaristan and the other lands 
of Pariswar. The realm of Tabaristan remained with his family till 
,the time of king PerSz. When Qobad became King of kings, the Turks 
made raids upon Xorasan and the borders of Tabaristan. Qobad 
consulted the mobads. After seeking an augury and conferring, they 
decided that the King of kings should send there his eldest son, named 
Kayus, for his star was the same as the star of that land 3 . His story 
will be told in its own place. 

* .MS, A has JTjj. (M.). 

2 The Arabic as-Simak, corrupted by medieval astronomers in the west into Azimech, 
is used for both Spfca and Arcturus (M.). 

3 Peroz died in 484 A. C. His son Qobad (Kavad) reigned from 488 to 531. On 
the appointment of Qobad's eldest son Kayus (Kaus, Qabus) as ruler of Tabaristan see 
Iqbal, Tarix-i Tabaristan, pp. 147-150, Browne, Abridged Translation of the History of 
Tabaristan^ pp. 92-94. 


Abyssinia 63 n. 2. 

ASarbaigan 63, 

adultery, punishment for, 42^J3. 

Adurag, a sage, 19, 

Adurbad 1 Mahraspandan 19. 

Afrasiyab the Turk 64-65. 

Afridun 63. 

Alan 12, 35 with n, 4. 

Alexander the Great, conquest of Iran, 26, 60-61; his letter to Aristotle, 
27; divides Iran among the ' kings of the peoples', 29; his further con- 
quests and death, 29; burnt the sacred book of the Zoroastdans, 37; 
laid waste the cities of Iran, 65. 

andarz see handarz. 

andar2bad I aspwaragan 4] n. 4. 

apostasy from Zoroastrianism, punishment for, 42. 

Arabs 63, 64 n. 1. 

Aramaic script 1. 

Ardasir I, son of Papak, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 18; his general achievements, 17, 
21, 67; better than the 'Ardasir of old', 66; his capture of Ardavan, 
29; his treatment of the other 'kings of the peoples', 29, 35; shows 
forbearance to Gusnasp, 30; accepts his submission, 70; writes letters 
to local rulers, 16, 21; local resistance to his claims, 22; accused by 
Gusnasp of forsaking religious tradition, 36; of destroying fire-temples 
and carrying off the fires, 47, see 16-17; of shedding too much blood, 
41; of setting spies and informers over the people, 49; of exacting money 
from merchants and the wealthy, 51 ; claimed by Tansar to be the restorer 
of the Zoroastrian faith, 37, see also 62, and 10 n. 4, 22 n. 2; restores 
the division of society into 4 estates, 39; the punishments imposed by 
him for crimes and offences, 42-43; measures taken by him to preserve 
family and rank, 44; his solicitude for this, 45; his actions with regard 
to the law of proxy, 46; the etiquette of his feasting and assemblies, and 
the disposition of his time, 66 n.; engages in war against the Greeks to 
avenge Alexander's defeat of Darius III, 65, 70. (See also under the 
Testament of ArddSir) 
Ardasir, king of Kerman, 11. 

— 72 — 

Ardasir, son of Isfandiyar, called Bahman (q.v.), 66. 

Ardavan, most powerful of the ' kings of the peoples *, captured by Ar- 
daslr, son of Papak, 29. 

Arday Viraz Namag 18, 28 n. 6. 

Aristotle, his advice to Alexander, 27-28. 

asceticism in Sasanian Iran 13. 

autobiographical passages in Sasanian literature 20. 

Az see Greed. 

Azimech 70. 

Babylon 29, 63 n. 2. 

Bagdad 19. 

Bahman Diraz-dast 53 n. 2; also called Bahman, son of Isfandiyar, 42, 66; 
and Ardasir, 66. 

Bahram I 9. 

Bahrain son of Xorzad 4 with n. I, 7, 13, 26, 30. 

Balkh 63. 

Baris Nask 19 n. 2. 

Baxt-afrid, a sage, 20. 

Berbers 63; conquered by Alexander, 26. 

Bin, companion and secretary to Darius III, 54; poisoned by command of 
Darius' father, 60; his brother made secretary in his place, 60. 

Biruni 3, 46 n. 3, 47 n, 1. 

blind man helping a lame man, a fable, 69.. 

book of the Zoroastrian religion burnt by Alexander, 37; the 4 estates re- 
corded in the holy books, 38; statutes written in the book of laws, 43; 
rank registered in books and archives, 44; Ardasir's own book, 45, see 
further under the Testament of Ardasir. 

box, king born of one, a fable, 44-45. 

Boxt-ruwan-Varhan, honorific title of Karder, 9. 

brigandage, punishment for, 42, 47, 48. 

Bundahisn 19, 29 n. 2, 48 n. 4. 

Burzoe 13, 15, 20. 

Cihrzad 53. 

China 63 n. 2; the goal of Alexander, 27; paid tribute to Darius I, son of 
Cihrzad, 53; sent gifts to Darius III at his coronation, 60. 

Christianity 13. 

Christians, opposed to one element in the law of proxy, 47. 

chronology, Zoroastrian, 68 n. 1. 

Copts 63; conquered by Alexander, 26. 

cow, name of a cauldron filled with molten lead into which malefactors 
were cast, 48. 

— 73 — 

crucifixion as a punishment for sorcerers and highway-robbers, 48. 

Darius, sages of his time referred to, 32. 

Darius I, son of Cihrzad, 53 with n. 2, 54, 55, 60. 

Darius III, cherished by his father, 53 with n. 2; his mismanagement of his 

affairs, 54; crowned king, 60; led by his secretary to rule his realm ill, 

60; slain by his own nobles, 26, 61. 
Delaman, part of Gusnasp's territories, 30. 
Denkard 5. 

desertion from the army in the field, the punishment for, 42. 
destiny, the need to balance it with striving, 68, 69. 
Diz i nibist, ' Stronghold of Writings ' 22. 

donkey, name of a three-legged instrument of torture, 48 with n. 4. 
Dumbavand, part of Gusnasp's territories, 31. 
earth, divided into four parts, 63 with n. 2. 
editions of the Tansar-name, 23-24. 
Egypt, paid tribute to the Persians, 65. 
elephants, kept at Ardasir's court to trample malefactors and heretics, 

47, 48. 
Eran-dablrbad, chief of the third estate, 41 n. 2; the part played by him 

in the election of the king, 61 with n. 6. 
Eran-spahbad, chief of the second estate, 41 n. 2; the part played by him 

in the election of the king, 61. 
estates, society divided into four estates, 37-38; movement from one to another 

allowed only to those of outstanding capacity, 38 with n. 2, 39; these 

estates re-established by Ardasir, 39; a chief set over each of them by 

him, 41. 
Euphrates 63. 

eyes of the king (royal spies and informers), 49-50. 
fables of Indian origin, 2, 14, 15, 55-59, 68-69. 
family see under rank. 

Fars, used by Ibn Isfandiyar synonymously with Iransahc, 26 n. 1. 
Fars-Name 3 n. 7, 14, 27 n. 2, 66 n. 
fate 68, 69. 
fire-temples, destroyed by Ardasir and the fires removed, 47 with 16-17; 

trophies of war brought to them, 17. 
fravasis 34 with n. 2. 
Gandhara 15. 

Gilan, part of Gusnasp's territories, 3.0. 
gnosticism 13. 
Greece 27; pays tribute to Darius I, son of Cihrzad, 53; sends gifts to Darius 

III at his coronation, 60; king of Greece made ruler over the land of 

— 74 — 

the Hebrews, for tribute, by the Persians of old, 65; celebrated for its 
craftsmanship and art, 64; Ardasir making war against Greece to avenge 
Persia for Alexander's conquest, 65, 70. 
Greed (Az), the root of many vices, 40 with n. I. 

Gusnasp 5, 7, 22 n. 2; addressed as king of Pariswar and Tabaristan, of 
Gllan and Delaman, Royan and Dumbavand, 30; after Ardavan, the 
most powerful of the ' Icings of the peoples ', 29; writes a letter to Tan- 
sar, 30; said to submit to Ardasn-, 70. 
Gustasp, son of Luhrasp, 62. 
handarz, andarz (gnomes) 12, 14, 19-20, 41 n. 1. 
hazarjha * brigand ' 42 n. 3. 
heir to the throne, naming of, 12, 51-52, 61-63. 
Hephthalites 12. 

hlrbad 5 (title of Tansar), 8 (title of Karder); Tansar called chief 
herbad (herbad herabade), 30 with n. 4, 6 Qierbadan herbad); pi 
6, 39, 62, 
heresy, measures taken against it by Ardasir, 42, 47, 48. 
humble, an epithet of the Iranians, 52 with n. 3; the land of the humble, 

i.e. Iran, 63. 
Ibn isfandiylr 2, 3, 27 n. 2 (an example of his inflation of his original), 28 
n. 1 (an idiosyncratic usage of his), 47 n. 1, 57 n. 3, 66 n. (a passage 
omitted by him), 68 n. 4. 
Ibn Khurdadhbih 35 n. 2, 
Ibn Miskawayh 14. 
Ibnu-1 Faqih 63 n. 2. 

Ibnu-1 MuqaftV 2, 3, 11, 13, 26, 40 n. 1, 57 n. 3, 68 n. 1, n. 2 (verses attri- 
buted to him), 70. 
India 63; the goal of Alexander, 27; sends gifts at his coronation to Darius 

III, 60; celebrated for intellect, 64. 
Indian influences on Sasanian literature, 13, 15, 20. 
informers, see under ' eyes \ 
Iraj, son of Afridun, 63. 
Iran, divided by Alexander among the ' Icings of the peoples ', 28-29; called 

the * land of the humble ' 63, see 52 n. 3; see further under Persia. 
Iraq 29 (the ' two Iraqs '). 

Jstaxr, the Zoroastrian sacred book burnt there, 37. 
Jahtal 68, 69, see 15. 

Jamalu-d Din 'Abdu-r Rizzaq .Isfahan! 56 n. 1. 

Jews, their land conquered in ancient times by the Persians and given to 
the Greeks to administer, 65; conquered by Alexander, 26; their law 
of the Levirate, 47 with n. 2. 

— 75 — 

Ka'ba-yi Zardust, citations from the inscription of Sabuhr, 7-8, 11, 30 n.; 

as the diz I nibist, 22. 

' Kabul 12, 35, 63. 

Kalilag u Dimnag 13, 15. 

Karder the priest, called herbad 8; called mobad and herbad, 9; his inscrip- 
tions, 8; his career and achievements, 8-10, 11; documents bearing 
his signature, 21. 

Karder, son of Ardawan, 9 n. 2, 10 n. 2. 

Kaytis, son of Qobad, 70. (See also Qabus, ruler of Pariswar). 

kingship, not in general hereditary except in the family of the King of kings, 
35 with n. 5. 

Kirman-sah 35 n. 2, see also 34, 11. 

Kitabu-t Tanblh 68 n. 1. 

letter-writing in early Tran, 2, 20-21. 

Man Bastam 29. 

Mah Nihavand 29. 

Makran 63. 

Mani 9, 63 n. 2. 

Manicbaean dignitary writing a letter in the 3rd century A.C., 21; the Mani- 
chaean Kephalaia, 63 n. 2. 

Manichaeism 13. 

Mansiir b, Isma'il al-Faqih 55 n. 1. 

Manucihr, mobad of Xorasan, 26, see 4 n. 1. 

manuscripts of the Tansar-Name 23-24. 

marcher-lords (marzbdri) 12, 35 with nn. 4, 5, (the marcher-lords of Alan, 
Xwarezm and Kabul). 

Masabadhan (Mesobadene) 29 with n. 4. 

Mas'udi 3, 29 n. 6, 68 n. 1. 

Mazdakite movement 12, 13, 16. 

Middle Persian (Pahlavi) language 1 ; literature 1-2, 4, 18-20; script, 1. 

Mihrag, son of Tosar, 8. 

Mihr-Ohrmazd, a sage, 19. 

mobad 9 (one of the titles of Karder), 26 (title of Manucihr); the chief mo- 
bad (mobaddn mobad), the chief of the first estate. 41 with n. 2; the 
part played by him in the election of the king, 61, 62; pi. 6, 38, 70 (the 
mobads consulted over an augury). (See also under priests) 

monkeys, fable of the destruction of a group of monkeys through the asso- 
ciation of incompatibles, 55-59, and see 15. 
Mulasarvastivadins and their Vinaya, 15, 
Naqs-i Rajah, Karder's inscription, 8. 
Naqs-i Rustam, Karder's inscription, 8, 9. 

— 76 — 

Narseh 9, 

Nebuchadnezzar as an Iranian king, 65. 

Oman 63. 

oral tradition in Middle Persian literature, 1-2, 18, 21, 22, 23 n. 

Padisxwargar, Padiswargar, 30 n. 

Pahlavi see Middle Persian. 

Paikuli 9. 

Palestine, sends gifts to Darius III at Ms coronation, 60. 

Pancatantra, 15 n. 4, 59 n. 6. 

Parigwar.29 with a. 7, 65, 70. 

PariSxwar 30 n. 

Pars, the terra used by Ibn Isfandiyar for Persia proper, 26 n. 1 ; its learned 

men among tie authorities for the Letter, 26; its people pre-eminent 

for courage and fighting-qualities, 27; a reference to the 'kings of 

Pars ' in post-Alexandrian times, 30. 
Parthians, continuity of Zoroastriaaism under the Parthians, 11, 22 with 

n. 2; the Parthian period dismissed by Tansar as 400 years of savagery 

and desolation, 67. 
Persarmema 63. 
Persians, distinguished for courage and boldness, 27; for humility, 52; their 

kings rulers over the earth, 63-64; endowed with the qualities of ah 

other nations, 64; their country enjoys more advantages than any other, 

Peroz 70. 
priests, responsible for the disposition of the property of those who died 

intestate, 46; clerical bias in the Letter, 62 n. 1. (See also under mobad). 
proxy, the law of (Pahlavi stur), 46-47. 

Qabus, name popular among the Sasanians only from the 5th century A.C, 1 1 . 
Qabus, king of Kerman, 1 1, 34, 35. 
Qabus (Kayus), ruler of Pariswar, elder brother of Xosrau Anoslrvan, 11, 

70 with n. 3. 
Qirangah 69. 
QobSd (Kavad I) 70. 
Qurais 52 n. 3. 
rank, its preservation essential to society, 27; causes of its decay, 43-44; 

measures by Ardasir for its preservation, 44; marriage of noble with 
commoner forbidden, commoners prohibited from buying the estates 

of nobles, 44; Ardaslr's solicitude for rank, 45; the appurtenances of 
rank ordained and enforced, 48; respect required from inferior to su- 
perior, 49. 
Rastln, secretary of Darius I, 54, 55, 60. 

— 77 — 

rebels, punishments for, 42. 

regicide, punishment for, 26. 

robbers see under brigandage. 

Rome 26 n. 2, 63 with n. 2. 

Jtdyan, part of Gusnasp's territories, 31 with n. 1. 

Sar-Mashad, Karder's inscription, 8, 9. 

Sasan 29. 

Sawad, districts of the, 63 n. 4. 

Silis 63 n. 2. 

Sindbad, Book of, 15, 59 n, 6. 

Siyavas 65. 

Sogdia, identified in the Bundahim with Syria, 19. 

sorcery, punishment for, 47, 48. 

spirits of the virtuous dead (the fravaMs), 34. 

stur see under proxy. 

Syria, tribute paid to the Persians for Syria by the Greeks, 65. 

Sabuhr I, 7, 8, 14. 

Sabuhr II 19. 
,§kand-gumanig Vizar 38 n. 1. 

Tabari 16.. 

Tabaristan 21, 29, 30, 32, 65, 69, 70; the History of Jabarlstan, 3, 23-24. 

Taja.ribu-1 Umam 14. 

Tansar, the variant forms of the name, 7; popular etymology of the form 
Tansar, 30; chief herbad of Ardasir, 5, 6, 30; his aims and achievements, 
5-7, 10-11; attempt to identify him with Karder, 9-10; receives letter 
from Gusnasp, 30; counsellor to Gusnasp's father, 31, 32; describes 
his own ascetic way of life, 31, see 13; reasons for thinking his Letter in 
answer to Gusnasp essentially genuine, 16-22. 

taxation of merchants and the wealthy, 51. 

tayus 'thief 42 n. 3. 

Testament of Ardasir, reference in the Letter to Ardaslr's writing a book 
or testament, 45, 50; citations in the Letter from Ardaslr's sayings, 43, 
44, 45-46, 50 ; the surviving Arabic texts of the Testament, and citations 
from them, 14, 19, 22, 23 n., 34 n„ 38 nn. 1, 2, 41 nn. 1, 5, 43 n. 4, 51 
n. 4, 62 n. 1. 
theft, punishment for, 42. 

Toyulsah, by-name for Darius I, 53 with n. 2, 54, 60. 
Tosar 7, 8. 
Toxaristan 63. 

Turks 12, 33; their land stretching from the western borders of India to the 
eastern borders of Rome, 63; celebrated for their horsemanship, 64; 

— 78 — 

long strife between Iranians and Turks leading to the conquest of the 
Turks, 65; raiding Xorasan and the borders of Tabaristan in the reign of 
Qobad (Kavad I), 70, 

Tuti Name 15. 

Vali ram I, II and III, 9. 

Valaxs the Arsacid, 5. 

Valaxs, king of Kerman, 11. 

vastryosan-salar 41 n. 2. 

Vendidad 19. 

writing, its use in Sasanian Persia, 2, 20-21. 

Wuzargmihr 20. 

Xaqan of the Turks 33. 

Xorasan 4 n. 1, 26. 

Xorzad 4 n. 1, 1, 26. 

Xosrau I Anosirvan 5, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 20, 22, 35 n. 4, 38 n. 2, 45 n. 4, 65. 

Xwar„ a place in Tabaristan, 30 n. 

Xwarezm 2 (the city), 12, 35. 

Yemen, conquered by Xosrau I, 12. 

Yima (Jamsid), legend of, 45 n. 2. 

Yudhistbira, of the first Gonandiya dynasty, 15. 

Zoroaster 62. 

Zoroastrianism, evidence for its continuity under the Parthians, 11, 22 with 
n. 2; the Church born of one womb with the State, 33-34; its sacred 
writings destroyed by Alexander, with much loss of tradition, 37 (but 
see n. 2); need for a strong king to support it, 37; the laws of religion 
found corrupt by Ardasir and heresies rife, 46; the king accepts the 
crown in obedience to its tenets, 62. 


barg-i cunin marg na bud ' he was not ready for such a death ' 59 with n. 5. 
bayl, verb, 2nd sg., " you must" 27 n. 5. 

gOs" dastan "to be aware of, consider, care for, protect" 33 n. 1. 

mardom-2§de ' a noble, man of rank ' 44 n. 3. 

padid kardan " to appoint " 28 n. 1. 

qabaq ' butt, target ' 26 n. 5. 

qadri 'fatalist' 68 n. 4. 

t'abiyat ' guile, stratagem ' 26 n. 4. 

zad-u-bud ' place where one is born and lives * 56 n. 1.